Shalom Aleikhem: Hunger Van with Am Shalom – An Act of Righteousness
“When you are asked in the world to come, ‘What was your work?’ and you answer: ‘I fed the hungry,’ you will be told: ‘This is the gate of the Lord, enter into it, you who have fed the hungry’” (Midrash to Psalm 118:17).
“And they give food in spite of love for it to the needy, the orphan, and the captive” (Qur’an 76:8)
Religion is a way of life that teaches us how to live, teaches us how to be compassionate and teaches us right from wrong. Nevertheless, even if we did take away the texts and the spirituality from our lives, we are left with this systematic world with humanity and its basic survival needs. Our own humanity doesn’t permit us to live without compassion and our own body reminds us daily of our hunger pangs. Yet we often end up neglecting another human being who maybe in dire need of a meal, maybe due to lack of time, or passion.
However on October 19th, 2014 things were a little different. Zamir Hassan, the founder of the Hunger Van Project stood in front of a group of volunteers from Am Shalom (a Jewish Synagogue in Glencoe, IL) and explained the consequence of hunger, who is it that is considered to be hungry, and how a group of small volunteers can effectively make a huge difference in the world. For pictures from this event, please click here.
Am Shalom, on a monthly basis gathers together a group of volunteers to prepare meals for the homeless in the Chicago area. However, on this particular Sunday, Patti Vile (a member of the Synagogue) and Zamir Hassan decided to combine the efforts of both the organizations to help feed the needy. Volunteers gathered from both groups, with varied backgrounds and age groups and were stationed with different tasks for the hour. The youngest volunteer of the day was 11 years old and he made a great deal of difference in the community without even realizing his impact.
Hunger Van would like to thank all its volunteers including the children, Noah Magill (age 14), Jonah Magill (age 12) and Levi Magill (age 11) who worked continuously for over an hour to prepare over a 150 sandwiches for the poor.
Thanks to this passionate group of volunteers and the Hunger Van project, humanity was able to work towards achieving one common goal. Feeding the hungry!
About HUNGER VAN
The Hunger Van was born in 2011 because Muslims Against Hunger founder Zamir Hassan, a practicing Muslim and resident of Bedminster, New Jersey decided that if hungry people such as the ones congregating around parks and train stations, could not come to the food, the food would come to them in vans, conveniently packaged and ready to eat. The cost of producing one hot meal is $6.07 and $4.85 for cold ones; and meals as well as events are donation-based. Sponsors are encouraged to raise funds for the feeding event. All of the food is vegan and can last for a long period of time without spoiling. for more information about Hunger Van project click here
The author of this blog, Falak Zaffer Ghatala, is a resident of Chicago, IL and works and volunteers for multiple non-profits to assist the needy in Chicago. She has a Masters in Chemical Biology but has changed careers to serve humanity. She spends her free time studying religion and running a campaign called ‘The Do Good Campaign’. Her passion lies in doing good and truly believes that: “Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.” Lucius Annaeus Seneca