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Zakat Foundation of America, Ilhan Omar send third fresh-food delivery to Minneapolis’ Deprived

More than 50 tons of produce, milk delivered in 10 days

MINNEAPOLIS (June 11, 2020) — Two days after George Floyd’s bereaved family and an emotional nation laid this unlikely icon of systemic American racism and anti-black police brutality to rest in Houston, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar called on Zakat Foundation of America — for the third time in 10 days — to haul in and hand out a truckload of farm-picked produce for local families still cut off from wholesome fresh fare.

“I invited them to bring another container of food, as there is unfortunately no shortage of need,” Congresswoman Omar said. “And I am honored to join and help them in the distribution this Friday.”

Friday, June 12’s free distribution will start around 10 a.m. at the Bryan Coyle Center, 420 15th Ave S.

"I appreciate that Zakat Foundation of America thought of us and came out to Minneapolis with food aid during this difficult time. It means a lot,” Congresswoman Omar said.

Floyd, 46, died handcuffed, surrendered, face-down on a street in Omar’s district — pleading for breath, calling for his mother, throttled beneath the knee on his neck of then-19-year veteran, white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, on Memorial Day, May 25.

The brazen murder transpired for nearly 9 remorseless minutes in broad daylight; Chauvin, hands nonchalantly in his pockets, smirking directly into the recording video camera, with onlookers imploring him for mercy for Floyd’s expiring life.

“Godliness means acting quickly with compassion for the vulnerable,” said Halil Demir, Zakat Foundation’s executive director. “We didn’t wait for an invitation. Right away, we moved to bring these victims of racism and persecution the most basic sustenance of life cut from them: fresh fruits, vegetables and milk.”

Content and Character

Zakat Foundation relief workers will pass out more than 18,000 pounds of colorful produce and 400 gallons of milk, with help from Congresswoman Omar and her staff.

Each produce box contains about 25 pounds of farm-fresh tomatoes, apples, oranges, cucumbers, lettuce, celery, carrots, asparagus, onions, potatoes, and other fruits and vegetables.

On June 3, global charity Zakat Foundation became the first major organization in the country to initiate food relief for people of the Twin Cities severed from food markets by police riots in response to protests and months of coronavirus pandemic disruptions.

The international humanitarian nonprofit, headquartered in Bridgeview, Ill., near Chicago, made good on Demir’s promise to return with more garden-fresh provisions just two days later, June 5.

Demir said Zakat Foundation and its supporters intend to deliver more than food to the people of the community and city now indelibly marked as ground-zero for America’s anti-racist social crisis.

“We want to put a little bit of love in the hearts of people, bring some healing to our nation.”

Many-Splendored Goodness

Zakat Foundation relief specialists worked to ensure their food campaign paid multiple relief dividends. They procured the fruits and vegetables for food baskets fresh from Midwest farmers.

That made its produce campaign and donors’ gifts deeds of double goodness. On one hand, this provided Minneapolis’ food-, job- and mobility-deprived people with healthful nourishment. On the other, it helped lessen the dramatic economic shortfall struggling farmers faced unexpectedly, forced to plow their harvests under or destroy yields in the face of COVID-19’s economic ambush.

The aid group, based on Islam’s celebrated Third Pillar, Zakat, the yearly almsgiving obligation on wealthy Muslim individuals from which it takes its name, will have sent more than 60,000 pounds of free produce and milk into Minneapolis’ afflicted neighborhoods in less than two weeks. They’ve duplicated this giving for hard-pressed people in cities across the nation, including New York, Durham (North Carolina), St. Louis and Oakland.

In addition, Demir has slipped in shipments of PPE — medical masks and gloves — to help health care staff and essential workers cope with the persisting pandemic. This remains crucial, particularly among African-Americans, another reflection of the epidemic of racism across the country.

Demir, who personally drove in with the first shipment and passed out the produce boxes and milk, along with Omar, sees this work as the beginning of a necessary curative for what hurts in America.

“If we give a little, each of us, and really care for our brothers and sisters — as children of our one father, Adam, and one mother, Eve — it won’t just ease the hearts of others. It will heal our own,” Demir said.