Get Involved for Zakat MonthThe current economic climate has caused a severe financial strain on our neighbors and fellow Muslims. Currently, a whopping 40 percent of Americans live below the poverty level. More are joining them every day. There are a (very) few signs that the economy may be finding its way to improvement in some areas, but progress is excruciatingly slow. Our homeless, our poor need help now.As such, the Imam Association has designated this July to be "Zakat Month," a month-long campaign to increase our acts of Zakat and help erase poverty in our community.Throughout Zakat Month, the Masjid will be committed to educating the community about Zakat and incorporating more Zakat-related information in our programs. This may include regular halaqas and khutbas surrounding the benefit of Zakat, and helping community members calculate their correct Zakat amount. The Masjid will also be assisting in the fair collection and distribution of Zakat among the poor.We have chosen July as Zakat Month because it is one month before Ramadan this year. Ramadan serves as a popular month for Muslims to give Zakat, Masha'Allah. But there are needy people all year round, and we hope that implementing a complete Zakat Month program outside of Ramadan will help to remind each of us of giving Zakat year round.We urge each member of our community to take part in Zakat Month by trying something new with your family members, neighbors and friends. A few ideas include:Getting InvolvedInitiate family halaqas once a week; make the topic Zakat-related, following the theme of Zakat month.Learn how to correctly calculate how much Zakat to give. Teach someone else.REMIND others about the importance of giving Zakat! You can bring them along to a Zakat lesson at the Masjid, or make it your next halaqa topic.You could even send out customized Zakat e-cards. All of these ideas are gentle reminders that go a long way.Consume less, share more. At least for just this Zakat month, cut back on an unnecessary expense. Do you buy several $5 coffees every week?Are you prone to excessive shoe-shopping? Cut back on your expensive habits during Zakat month and consider donating a portion of your savings to someone who doesn’t have the luxury of food or even shoes.The Prophet Mohammad described our Ummah as organs in a body: when one organ is sick, the other organs rally and respond to it. As a community, we have to unite and help each other when even just one person is suffering. In this, the bonds of Muslims—from the smallest community to the collective Ummah—can be strengthened.