Even the Poor Can Give: Lessons from MLK Day of Service at ZFCCC

On a frigid Martin Luther King Day those who helped Zakat Foundation of America Community Center Chicago (ZFCCC) give coats to shelters got a different kind of gift for themselves.

One of the younger boys, a South Shore resident, asked Laila Muhammad, ZFCCC director, “Don’t we get coats?”

Ms. Muhammad twinkled her eyes at him and answered, “No, it’s your turn to give to the shelter. You don’t need a coat; you have a nice one already.” The boy grinned up at her and got back to work handing out coats.

“This community, on certain levels, they are needy,” Ms. Muhammad said later. “But on other levels they are not. Today instead of always getting something, they got to give a coat to people who really needed one.”

Before taking 50 coats to the Remaking the World Veterans Center and another 50 to Teen Living Shelter that houses runaway teens, the program at ZFCC started with a screening of the documentary, “King: Go Beyond the Dream to Discover the Man.”

The group that comprised 35 children, adults and elders then listened to some of the older people share their memories of the civil rights movement. Everyone sang Happy Birthday to Martin Luther King, Jr., and enjoyed cupcakes donated by a community member.

Honoring one of America’s great leaders through education and service enriches residents in one of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods in ways that extend beyond material wealth. Your support of ZF social service programs brings resources that address every part of human development to those who need to give as well as receive.

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