Back-to-school season is here! Zakat Foundation of America (ZF) continues to help students start the year off right with their annual backpack giveaway — this time at Muhammad University of Islam (MUI) during Parent Night.
As new and returning parents filed into MUI’s gymnasium on Thursday, they, along with staff, students and guests, could feel the energy that the back-to-school season brings. The parents were also greeted by staff and tables with information, books and backpacks to give away for each grade level at the K-12 school on Chicago’s South Side.
MUI’s interim director, Brother Jason Karriem, thanked ZF for donating backpacks stuffed with supplies for the second year in a row and for the coats, hats and gloves given during last winter. He expressed how important it is to maintain partnerships like this with organizations in the community.
When introduced by Brother Karriem to say a few words, ZF’s Executive Director Halil Demir said, “I’m very grateful to be here, and we are honored to be a part of this great community and to bring joy and happiness to [our children].”
Mr. Demir reminded the students that “the first word” of the Holy Qur’an that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him) received from Allah (SWT) was “iqra. Read in the name of Allah.” He also encouraged the children to stay focused on their studies to have a successful school year.
The backpack distribution effort is a part of ZF’s education efforts. The Muslim-run humanitarian organization has donated hundreds of backpacks this year in the Chicagoland area alone and thousands since it began the program.
MUI received more than 140 backpacks during this year’s distribution effort. The most popular were the small pink bags and the newly designed green bags for middle high school students.
“There are people who are always giving to Muhammad University of Islam — some we know, some we don’t know – and we just want to thank everyone for their contributions,” Brother Karriem said.