Chicagoland Volunteers Prepare 1,000 Food Aid Kits for Puerto Rico
At first sight, it appeared as if the majority of the Chicagoland Muslim community had shown up at the front doors of the Unity Center. For much of Sunday afternoon, the community hall, located at the Zakat Foundation of America office, was abuzz with families and friends working tirelessly to prepare food aid packages for victims of the hurricane in Puerto Rico.
This was the second Volunteer Day organized by Zakat Foundation of America’s outreach team. The first one was held just a month ago where similar food packages were prepared for those impacted by Hurricane Harvey in Texas. Aside from attracting great turnouts from the local community, the volunteer days stand as solid examples reminding us the power of service and spirituality. This past Sunday’s volunteer day also included a short motivational lecture from Sister Lena Tleib.
Here’s what volunteers had to say about the event:
Leticia Escamilla, a Zakat Foundation of America Programs Coordinator who recently traveled to Puerto Rico on a mission trip
I was overwhelmed with the amount of people that came — I thought that maybe there’d be 15 (laughs) — I would’ve thought that’s a great turn out. I thought that that was very encouraging and very uplifting.
It reminded me of how the people reacted in Puerto Rico. We came and not only were we on the U.S. mainland, which they were thinking, ‘why?’ Then, they were thinking, “It’s a Muslim organization; there are Muslims in Puerto Rico, but it’s mostly Christian.” They were intrigued by that.
Everyone, regardless of religion and race, was interested in helping them. So, when we explained to them that, you know, our purpose is that we’re a humanitarian organization and we go where there is need, they were very touched and intrigued by that, and they were very encouraged when we told them that people are thinking about them and want to know what their needs are and try to help meet those needs — that our network felt that way.