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Innovant #holiday party, made meals to feed the hungry for @ZeroHunger #Giveback

IMG_4088 December 12, 2014. The sky is getting colder, and the holidays are approaching, while New Yorkers get their last-minute shopping done; still, there are many hungry folk to whom it’s good to give consideration when skies turn and remain stark slate gray. As it so happens, Tzedakah (charity) is a fundamental part of the Jewish way of life; so, Eli Shapiro of West End Synagogue and vice president of Innovant, a cutting edge office design company, from his eager willingness to give charity by helping the homeless eat, recently donated $2000 to Hunger Van during a holiday party sponsored for the homeless on Long Island, which is a continuation of the complicit cooperation between Hunger Van and West End Synagogue: a family-friendly reconstructionalist congregation on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City, New York. IMG_4115IMG_4159IMG_4166IMG_4191IMG_4178IMG_4173IMG_4170

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It was a busy day for the many people involved in the production of over 100 meals for homeless people living in NYC, this event taking place in one room, with Hunger Van founder Zamir Hassan lecturing. Mr. Hassan states that so many people are surprised at the total number of hungry people here in the US per annum, which is 49 million. He gives his standard lecture at every Hunger Van event, in which he goes over the definition of hunger: that is, when a person does not know where his next meal is coming from, the total number of hungry people in the US, and the fact that he was raised a Muslim’s motivating him to help humanity through soup kitchens.

IMG_4099“We have so much to be thankful for; we have iPhone 6,” he likes to jokingly remark, insisting that our parents have given us everything. “There are homeless people right in our backyard, in the train stations and under bridges who get nothing to eat. As a Muslim, I cannot go to bed if my neighbor is still hungry.” Zakat is the mandatory fifth pillar of Islam, required for the physical and spiritual purification of a Muslim’s yearly earnings and in order to help those in the community who are more needy than he or she is.

IMG_4150At the Long Island holiday for homeless people, all thanks to the stunning donation procured by Innovant and Eli Shapiro, the meeting tables were soon filled with Honey Bee and Chickaroo salads, the completely vegan Hunger Van standard: a menu created primarily for the benefit of the health of homeless individuals, who often cannot get a truly good meal, but make do on what is cheaper and more fattening. The Hunger Van menu also has the capacity of standing up to time; the food doesn’t spoil so quick, lasting several hours, even outside of a refrigerator. The Honey Bee sandwich is a concoction of slices of whole wheat, filled with a drizzle of honey, banana slices, peanut butter, and a sprinkling of cinnamon; whereas the Chickaroo Salad is comprised of chopped greens, olives, cranberries,  sunflower seeds, pineapple chunks, chopped baby carrots, green peas, and avocado oil, all mixed and deposited into 12-ounce Styrofoam containers.IMG_4127

Every volunteer wears gloves for the sake of hygiene; they generally make and then distribute the parcels to people in need according to normal ethics of cleanliness.  There were certainly plenty of volunteers working in this room to make things happen: cutting bread, spreading peanut butter, making salad, working together! Mr. Hassan emphasizes, it is not the food that gets produced, that is the main element of Hunger Van, but the phenomenon of cooperation.  A common point that’s brought up during speeches, is that humans are created equal; and the homeless man who has no dinner is also part and parcel of Creation made in the image of the Lord, according to many religious perspectives. Incidental to the cooperation of this remarkable Hunger Van event on Long Island and its prodigious turnout, but relative to the religion of many of those volunteering, namely Judaism: Traditional Jews give at least ten percent of their income to charity; and Business Week’s 2006 list of The 50 Most Generous Philanthropists included at least 15 Jews.
To see Innovant volunteers in action click
https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/100326004352196375859/albums/6094275062300537569

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Innovant  terms “The Innovant Experience” is a reference to the unique collaborative design and development process offered to customer project teams. The Innovant design and development experts bring unparalleled experience to clients and their designers, offering insightful direction on product detailing, new functionality features, and efficient adaptation of standard and special materials. Innovant committed to enabling clients to realize their vision without sacrificing speed and adherence to budget. This is accomplished through a strong company culture and exceptional products.

About HUNGER VAN

IMG_4100The 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, Alice M. Baskous, is a New Jersey resident and Hunter College grad who works in and frequents Manhattan Island where she spends many of her hours studying French, walking around, and writing poetry as well as fiction. She does community service with the homeless as well as hungry locals of Tompkins Square Park in downtown New York City three times a week between 10 and 11 AM, and also at other Hunger Van sponsored events.

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Hunger Van at Arab American Family Services – Bringing communities together.

The founder of Hunger Van, Zamir Hassan and the founders of Arab American Family Services (AAFS), Itedal Shalabi and Nareman Taha; formed a friendship during their 7th annual Domestic Violence and Cancer awareness walk. Post the walk Zamir visited AAFS and joined hands to create awareness and get the community mobilized towards the goal of Hunger Van: “Drive against Hunger”10669989_710660462348761_6522954709082907210_n

On December 5th, 2014, AAFS hosted the Hunger Van and had an amazing turn out of volunteers. Ten hard working and amazing volunteers gathered around the conference room table at AAFS and even though it was their only time off from a hectic schedule, they chose to volunteer. To see more volunteers in action, please click here.IMG_3981

Within an hour and a half 150 meals inclusive of the ‘Honey-B’ sandwiches and a healthy spiced salad was prepared to not only provide a delicious meal but also one with a bit of zing. Zamir shared his secret salad recipe and the many moms present there were eager to make the same at home. Z’s were shaped using honey on whole wheat bread representing ‘Zero Hunger’, cinnamon sprinkled, bananas sliced and peanut butter generously applied to provide the needy with a scrumptious meal.

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AAFS on a regular basis works towards empowering those in need and this was one of the many initiatives they took towards building a stronger community in Bridgeview, Illinois. Hunger Van loved the dedication put in by each and every volunteer, their efforts and their enthusiasm to do good through out this process.

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Zamir also got a chance to introduce himself and his project to the staff at AAFS and was thrilled to learn that not only would they love to be a part of his efforts but also would love to get their kids involved. Wafa Zegar one of the staff at AAFS mentioned how her daughter likes to feed the homeless on her birthday, which then sparked an interesting conversation about how Hunger Van has previously hosted ‘Birthday Parties with a Good Deed’ and how kids have a remarkable impact on society when they themselves wish to spread generosity.

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Please click on the link to see more pictures of Volunteers in action.

Thank you to all the staff, volunteers and the beautiful founders of AAFS for hosting the Hunger Van and being a part of a successful drive.

About Arab American Family Services: AAFS provides service to over 30 communities in the South Suburban Chicagoland area. Their programs focus on the areas of safety net case management as well as domestic violence prevention and intervention, elderly and disability assistance, cultural diversity training, mental health assistance, immigration services, community health and education programs and youth programs. AAFS is a non-political, non-religious organization that focuses on building respect and understanding between Arab-Americans and the mainstream-American culture. For more information about AAFS please click here.

IMG_3895About 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

IMG_4085The author of this blog, Falak Zaffer Ghatala, is a resident of Chicago, IL and volunteers for multiple non-profits (including the Hunger Van) to assist the needy in Chicago. She has a Masters in Chemical Biology but has changed careers to serve humanity. She currently works at AAFS as an Adult Education Instructor and 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.

#Interfaith #Action at Reformed Church, NJ #Vegan meals for #Homeless @HungerVan @ZeroHunger @ShareAmerica

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November 8, 2014. It is Sunday morning, and Hunger Van has been invited to a local church in New Brunswick that happens to be equipped with its own kitchen, to make meals for the homeless with an interfaith community. Volunteers gather around the van to carry onto the porch and through the door, supplies they’ll be needing for the kitchen, as quick as possible. Zamir Hassan tells everyone, they’ll be making around 150 meals today.

“Some places are too small to accommodate Hunger Van. We tried to get some new people to volunteer for Hunger Van as an interfaith event,” a tall Muslim woman named Shabana the host of the event IMG_3505says to everyone.IMG_3529

“We do this program even in Manhattan’s tiny apartments, and it works. This is great, though; we even have a kitchen to wash pots today. Before you get started, I’d like to know why you’re here?” Zamir Hassan, founder of Muslims Against Hunger, Faith Against Hunger, and Hunger Van, states. Others respond they are there to help out and to meet people’s needs so they’ll have enough to eat. In a circle, they recite their names: Tracy, Karen, Jacquelyn, Alfreda, Chris, Belinda, Diva, and Isha.IMG_3495

‘I’ve always been a volunteer doing things like feeding the homeless; this work is right up my alley,” one woman enthusiastically continues. Another says, “Hunger’s a problem in our society, there’s no reason for it.”

IMG_3516“To make a small difference means a lot. Once, my son didn’t eat all of his cereal – he’s two by the way – because he doesn’t understand there’s not enough food in the world to feed everyone; and there are plenty of hungry people,” a mother recounts.

“The government cuts money from homeless programs all the time. This type of work is about engaging people to get involved. The definition of hunger as well as the number of people in the US and number of hungry people are things we’re going to talk about. Can anyone guess the total number of hungry people there are in the United States?” Mr. Hassan continues. One of the children guesses 7 million; an adult guesses 50 million. 49 million is the correct answer. “As a person of faith in a church, is this acceptable?” he inquires. The founder of Hunger Van goes on to inform the crowd about how he started this institution in 2000 in the city of Morristown, NJ when Zamir as chaperone with his son went to feed 200 people at a soup kitchen. “The homeless, they’re in our backyard and people don’t even know it. Muslims are more excited to do good things now, as it so happens.” Mr. Hassan created a training kit, starting an early version of the program asking for volunteers. Now he goes all over the country, doing this sort of thing.IMG_3491

“In August due to pressure from Interfaith groups, the government did not cut funds, but they eventually cut funds. The numbers are up, there are more people, social security checks are cut, so we have to get involved and it’s going to get tougher. By doing this, we make a little dent in this whole issue; today we are making two items, that is: sandwiches and salads,” Zamir Hassan says.

A couple of women already know how to make the Honey-B sandwich, which is simply a concoction of sliced whole wheat, honey, cinnamon, and peanut butter. Hunger Van’s Chicaroo salad is comprised of chopped salad greens, cranberries, green peas, cherry tomatoes, pineapple, slices baby carrots, spices, avocado oil, and olives, and is typically mixed together in a large pot before being divided into 8-oz. cups.

Jacquelyn Juricic of “A Better World Cafe” is here working with Hunger Van. She happens to be the president of the board of Who’s My Neighbor, a non-profit organization. She volunteers at the cafe, has been doing so for five years. She explains that this community cafe makes affordable eating healthy and affordable, has only suggested prices, one complimentary dish is on the menu, and there are vegetarian and vegan options. The other non-profit with the cafe is Elijah’s Promise. The whole business is a volunteer-run operation. The cafe has been serving for more than five years, lunch only; and the food is very good, she says. Better World’s salads are its signature dishes. On the web, more information can be searched for at betterworldcafe.org.

Meanwhile, two kids help to make garnishes for the salad. They say that this is their first Hunger Van event.

By noon, it’s clean up time, though it takes a while since sandwiches are still being made to fill the boxes a batch at a time. Half and hour later, and the crew continues to wrap up sandwiches and wash dishes.

“We want people to tell their friends HungerVan.org’s the website we are using. Hopefully all of you guys had fun today. The best experience is when we hand the stuff out; thanks so very much for coming and let’s do this again!”

Mr. Hassan says the thing to do is go to “Hosting of Hunger Van”, pick a time and date, and see if there’s an open spot for six volunteers and 100 meals. Any house with a kitchen and dining table is good enough for Hunger Van. This type of activity is also helping Jews and Muslims come together to talk about how good they are: you bring Jews and I’ll bring Muslims, that sort of interaction; and these meetings through this program can happen! In fact, on the 16th at Columbia University, there is going to be an intercultural Hunger Van exchange.  “In the Quran, more than 200 times, it says salat is done five times, and zakat once a day should be practiced. We usually narrow our definition of faith into what’s convenient for us. This way, as we have done here, we get to practice our faith.”

Click on the link to see more photos: https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/100326004352196375859/albums/6086174295785573361

About HUNGER VAN
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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, Alice M. Baskous, is a New Jersey resident and Hunter College grad who works in and frequents Manhattan Island where she spends many of her hours studying French, walking around, and writing poetry as well as fiction. She does community service with the homeless as well as hungry locals of Tompkins Square Park in downtown New York City three times a week between 10 AM and 11, and also at other Hunger Van sponsored events.

Shalom Aleikhem: Hunger Van @AmShalom – An Act of Righteousness

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.

IMG_2903However 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.

IMG_2905Am 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.

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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!

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to see volunteers in action click the link

https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/100326004352196375859/albums/6087677037968620625

About HUNGER VAN
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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

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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

@RutgersPSA Brings Charity Tradition of #Pakistan to Campus with @HungerVan for #Homeless @ZeroHunger @ShareAmerica

IMG_3485IMG_3486November 7, 2014. It’s 3:00 P.M. Rain patters down on the ground as the weather gets colder and more unpredictable, while a group of Pakistani students meet around the HUNGER VAN to unpack supplies they’ll be taking into the Rutger’s Bush Campus Student Center  the hosting the HUNGER VAN event. The students lead paraphernalia and company into a small auditorium where there are already four separate tables to spread over with paper and use for preparing meals for the homeless. IMG_3480 IMG_3478 IMG_3477  IMG_3467 IMG_3465  IMG_3463  IMG_3463

Zamir Hassan, the founder of Muslims Against Hunger, Faith Against Hunger, and Hunger Van, who brings out paraphernalia to designated locations to make salad and sandwich meals on Hunger Van runs, begins speaking to the students, although some people are still arriving. “If I don’t have lunch, then am I hungry? If you don’t, are you hungry? If a person does not know where his next meal is coming from, then he is hungry.” He states that out of the total US population which is around 316 million, 49 million are hungry; and this is in the world’s richest country. 5 additional people walk in, and the speech continues. “Pakistan is supposedly the world’s second most charitable country (the US is the first); people are so comparatively blessed! There are so many choices open to us.” That is to say, other people are significantly less lucky. The group will be involved in making three items today: Honey-B sandwiches, Chicaroo salads, and an assortment of breads, bagels, pastries, and cookies. Bottles of spring water have also been purchased for this occasion.

IMG_3474IMG_3461One table will be used for sandwiches of wheat bread, honey, cinnamon, and banana slices, and the other for 8 oz. salads comprised of carrots, olives, chopped salad greens, cherry tomatoes, cranberries, sunflower seeds, and avocado oil.  There will also be students to package assorted breads.

Talking to a girl who says her name is Yasmin, she says it’s her first Hunger Van event, and that the PSA or Pakistani Student Association, is hosting the event. At 3:15 P.M. everyone starts on their projects.

IMG_3464Ali, the president of the PSA, says the event was done last year; and it was very successful last year. Some of the PSA’s goals are to promote Pakistani culture, cultural activities including: a real wedding, fall festival, games, dressing up in traditional clothing, increasing their amount of community service; and another goal is to cover as much ground as possible. He states that there were as much as 300 students at the last event.

IMG_3458About seven people were busy packaging salads whereas five packaged bread, while the rest were assembling sandwiches. There are two very immense containers of chopped carrots and cherry tomatoes.

By 4:10 P.M. the event’s finished and everyone talks around the tables, the boxes are packaged, one fastidious female volunteer is taking pictures with a professional-looking camera, and Mr. Hassan hurries out to re-park his van in front of the building so the boxes can be loaded in. Some very considerate students help with the carrying and loading of boxes, gigantic roll of paper used for covering tables, and paraphernalia. And they find time in between classes to do all of this hands-on, interactive charitable work!
To see Rutgers PSA members in action click …….
http://tinyurl.com/ok73nts

About HUNGER VAN
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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, Alice M. Baskous, is a New Jersey resident and Hunter College grad who works in and frequents Manhattan Island where she spends many of her hours studying French, walking around, and writing poetry as well as fiction. She does community service with the homeless as well as hungry locals of Tompkins Square Park in downtown New York City three times a week between 10 AM and 11, and also at other Hunger Van sponsored events.

@HungerVan in NYC with @NewsCred for @ZeroHunger @ShareAmerica

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To see NewsCred’s volunteers in action click here…..

November 6, 2014. It is 5:00 PM at 28th Street, Park Avenue South, in downtown Manhattan. Content marketing business NewsCred’s capacious office space is located on the 6th floor of a spiffy edifice flanking the 28th Street green line subway station, where almost every employee is sitting at a desk behind a computer, except a small group of volunteers who have opted to take part in this evening’s Hunger van program.

“There is a legal definition for hunger in this country,” Zamir Hassan, founder of Muslims Against Hunger, Faith Against Hunger, and Hunger Van begins lecturing, standing next to a large, modern kitchen island surrounded by ten or so attentively listening people from NewsCred.

“The number of hungry Americans is about 49 million, and this is not acceptable. We don’t know as a nation what’s going on; we really must get involved at every level.” He explains to the crew that the project started at a soup kitchen in the year 2000. “This is not about food per se; it’s about the experience (of assisting people through charity).”

IMG_3371After carefully making Honey-B sandwiches, which consist of banana slices over peanut butter on whole wheat slices flavored with a drizzle of honey and cinnamon,  and Chickaroo salads, or shredded salad greens, pineapple, peas, chopped baby carrots, and avocado oil garnished with sunflower seeds, cranberries, cherry tomatoes, and essential spices, the meals will be conveyed in the van to Tompkins Square Park.

This is probably everyone’s first time with Hunger Van. Jasmine Cortez tells me all of the employees have a different job here: some are in marketing, some in sales, one person is an office manager. The volunteers have covered some of the tables in the office’s  kitchen area with hygienic brown paper and divide themselves in groups to prepare the sandwiches and salads, pleasantly chatting as they work.  More people wander in to take part in the process of making Hunger Van meals, and some leave.

UIMG_3421zma Kaleem, the HUNGER VAN hosting event coordinator at NewsCred to whom I am introduced, tells me NewsCred is starting its own social  responsibility effort, so they will be doing this sort of thing more frequently. Everyone is very enthusiastic about working for the community, getting behind causes and non-profits they really care about, and the numbers seem to be just right for it.

Diana of NewsCred states, “This is my first time volunteering for Hunger Van. They come to our office so it’s easier to do good; you get to go out and deliver meals, so it’s hands-on; and you get to work with your friends.”

IMG_3437IMG_3443After all the meals are assembled and ready to be loaded, Uzma says that on Wednesday evening there’s a yoga class at seven, and on Friday, it’s free lunch. There’s usually something different going on every day of the week. The program works best when it’s in the house, since you lose half of the people by moving from point A to B. There were at least 20 volunteers on the list agreeing to work in 30 minute increments or for one full hour, whereas some people will stay for the whole program. News Cred generally volunteers once a month, to serve the  community, although the frequency might increase. It was with a great amount of hospitality Hunger Van was sponsored this Wednesday by NewsCred, and everyone enjoyed doing service helping the needy.

To see NewsCred’s volunteers in action click here…..IMG_3375

 

 

IMG_3373About NewsCred
NewsCred is the leading content marketing platform. Pairing cutting-edge software with world-class content, we transform brands into storytellers.NewsCred’s Content Marketing Cloud© provides the easiest end-to-endsolution for content planning, creation, publishing and analytics. In one place, brands gain unprecedented access to the world’s largest content marketplace, including licensed content from over 4,000 publishers and original content from our award-winning journalist network. Through NewsCred, global brands like Pepsi, P&G, Dell, General Electric and AIG have seen explosive growth in social sharing, engagement and lead generation. Founded in 2008 by Shafqat Islam, Iraj Islam and Asif Rahman,NewsCred has offices in New York, Dhaka, London and is backed by FirstMark Capital, Mayfield Fund, IA Ventures, Greycroft Partners and others.

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IMG_3436About HUNGER VAN
Hunger van.Drive Against Hunger
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

IMG_3137The author of this blog, Alice M. Baskous, is a New Jersey resident and Hunter College grad who works in and frequents Manhattan Island where she spends many of her hours studying French, walking around, and writing poetry as well as fiction. She does community service with the homeless as well as hungry locals of Tompkins Square Park in downtown New York City three times a week between 10 AM and 11, and also at other Hunger Van sponsored events.

West End Synagogue Practicing Tikkon Olam With United Sikhs and Interfaith @hungervan for @ZeroHunger @ShareAmerica

IMG_3218IMG_3205IMG_3214West End Synagogue Practicing Tikkon Olam With United Sikhs and Interfaith Hunger Van
November 2, 2014. What better way to spend a Sunday than participate in a full-blown charity event promoting acts of kindness and awareness about hunger issues in the state of New York at a beautiful uptown Manhattan synagogue on 68th Street? At 2:00 PM, there was a large congregation of mainly adult people on the floor below the coat check, where a pizza party clearly took up one corner of the room, including a variety of sodas. A few children engaged sharing in activities in their own play area while people got seated above a “Rules for Hygiene Guide” at the tables. The first speaker who is a regular at Wet End explains, “Our tradition involves helping the needy,” and that, “A good 10% or 12% attended this event last year.”

Zamir Hassan, founder of Muslims Against Hunger, Faith Against Hunger, and Hunger Van, embarks on his customary speech. “What is hunger?” Is the first question he generally poses. An older woman wearing black immediately gets the answer right, “It’s when you don’t know where your next meal is coming from.” Out of the total US population which is 316 million, the volunteers are asked to guess how many persons are defined as being hungry. A child guesses 4 million, and an adult asks if it’s 55 million, but the answer is actually 49 million. “We live in the riches country in the world. Is this number acceptable?” Mr. Hassan continues. Everyone replies, no.

IMG_3244“Tikkon Olam means repairing the world. The situation has been broken. To mend the world, we take care of the unfortunate; this is one of the ways,” a Jewish speaker explains.

One member of the Sikh community explains, “All temples offer hot food to the needy and walk-ins. Worshippers also bring in food. Homeless people get treated like everybody else.” “Hunger has no religion,” Mr. Hassan adds.  The Hunger Van program also happened to start with this, his greatest slogan. “Where do you find the neediest people? They live right in our backyard.”

He is planning to have 200 meals prepared today, to be distributed two blocks away from the synagogue.

Among Sunday’s volunteers were: Ken Klein of the social action committee, Nadia Gold, Stacy Atkins, Ken Burt, Judith Friedman, Michelle Becker, Judith D’Agostino, Michael Sappiro, and many others, both regular attendees of West End and otherwise.

According to the Sikhs, “We’re all created in the image of God. We recognize the godliness in us as well as of everyone else. We go through the cycle of reading the 5 books of Moses; Abraham is called by God to go to a land made for him, and told about Sodom and Gomorrah, he shows his concern for the people.” Then, “Sadaqah, charity, comes from righteousness; God commands us to do what is right,” states Ken Klein.

What Barbara states about the people at West End, “We are open to all beliefs. What’s important to us is community.” Mr. Singh continues, “It’s good to communicate with other religions. Learn to live together as just humans, one God, and after all the praises, in the end, he’s just One.”

“We need to realize one thing; how blessed we are,” states Mr. Hassan. “You have choices, for example, what Mom gives you for breakfast. There are people who wind up eating what they are eating.”

IMG_3224IMG_3210The program is not going to be using squeezable honey for it’s usual Honey-B sandwiches today as the last time it was at West End, the walls were somehow redecorated by it, so there are jars of jelly instead. Aside from banana, peanut butter, and jam sandwiches, there is a hearty type of salad made with peas, corn, secret spices, and other ingredients, served in 8 ounce cups. All foods go into plastic bags along with spoons.

IMG_3209Most of the Sikhs are busily making salad at the room’s far end. They do not all belong to the same family, yet are acquainted fairly well with each other. Pritpal Singh is one of them, who helped with Hurricane Sandy; he explains to me what seva, or service, is and states that of every aspect of life, the essential parts are to serve, meditate, and work. He mentions that the reason Sikhs grow their hair long is to respect God and not be afraid about doing it.

“This has been a great event. We all did well,” says Ken Klein to the collected volunteers at the end.

“Remembering the Lord helps me be who I am. Oh, my Lord, when you come to my mind, when I remember you, there is bliss. Everyone else is dead except you. When He is kind to you, the Lord is loving you. As to why Sikhs wear turbans, it is that, those moments where I am not thinking about God, I am dead. Sikh teachings are about the oneness of humankind. A Sikh is always a disciple, always learning the way. Anything that is good is God and guru, everything that’s bad is entirely mine. Another Sikh volunteer explains, “In the Bible, a Nazarite is a holy person distinguished by the fact that he doesn’t cut his hair. Samson also did not cut his hair.”

Back to the first Sikh speaker: “The holy men wore turbans and never cut off their hair. Seva, service – to live you have to serve all of mankind. You have to see God everywhere, in all people. Simran is meditation; it may be hard. If you’re in simran, though, problems do not seem as tough; problems in general do not seem as tough….We don’t ever donate or receive charity per se, we serve. It’s a different way of looking at things. All Sikh temples are open to everyone. There are one million meals served out from the Golden Temple every day, made by volunteers….In Sikhism, the scriptures do not become dogmatic, and Sikhs don’t separate themselves from anybody out of love and respect. According the other three main religions, no one else can be saved, but according to Sikhs, it’s possible for everyone to achieve salvation. Through doing good deeds, one becomes holy, and this is tradition.”

IMG_3291Mr. Hassan went to 168th Stereet to distribute today’s meals, right in front of the Presbyterian Hospital on Broadway. The program ends with a traditional Jewish song. Even the children happily sing along and already seem to know the words. Through Hunger Van, they get to learn skills, social and otherwise, including how to made salads and sandwiches, for the community, all of them working together harmoniously.
Click here to see volunteers in Action……

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About HUNGER VAN
Hunger van.Drive Against HungerThe Hunger Van project 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

IMG_3284The author of this blog, Alice M. Baskous, is a New Jersey resident and Hunter College grad who works in and frequents Manhattan Island where she spends many of her hours studying French, walking around, and writing poetry as well as fiction. She does community service with the homeless as well as hungry locals of Tompkins Square Park in downtown New York City three times a week between 10 AM and 11, and also at other Hunger Van sponsored events.

Sunday of Charity, Romemu Hosts @HungerVan for @ZeroHunger @ShareAmerica

Furthermore, humble submission is the root of service an the way by which a person can stop feeling superior. He will acknowledge that God alone is the Mater of All Creation, as David put it, “Yours, God, are greatness, might, splendor, triumph, and majesty – yes, all that is in heaven and on earth. —Duties of the Heart: The Gates of Dedication of Purpose, Humility, and Repentance, trans. by Avraham Yaakov Finkel

to see volunteers in action click here…..

IMG_3129October 26th, 2014. At 3:00 PM in the library-basement of Romemu, Institute for Jewish Spirituality, which is located at Central Park North on its very uppermost edge, six adults, not all of whom already know each other, gather around two large tables laden with groceries to talk about daily life, Hunger Van, and charity. Paul Shulman is the busy organizer of this Romemu event hosting Hunger Van, and this is not his first experience with Hunger Van. He has a full-time job as bookkeeper for Romemu, and is in the process of earning his Master’s Degree; and his younger sister Zena Shulman, marketing professional for the same Institution, also assists in the preparation of meals for the homeless.IMG_3140IMG_3138Alice (author of this blog) and Aletta, a young research exchange student from Frankfurt, Germany, who is spending a few months in New York City for purposes of studying Muslim socio-economics via interviews, are both from the morning’s event at Columbia University at which there were a considerable number of students. At the moment, there are no teenagers around the reading room’s tables, but plenty of gregariousness and friendly conversations about life. Also in attendance are: Betsy Imershein, Wendy Handler, Florence Kranitz, and Zamir Hassan, founder of Muslims Against Hunger, Faith Against Hunger, and Hunger Van. Most of the aforementioned volunteers reside in New York City.

IMG_3133IMG_3143During his address to Romemu’s volunteer group – and as he carefully phrases it, the conversation figures as the main part of the program – Zamir stated, “By default out of having an Ivy League school education and working for IT, you have a good life, the American Dream.” As a chaperone, Zamir in league with one of his friends fed over 200 people at a soup kitchen in Morristown, NJ, which is the precise moment his feeding the homeless endeavors got started. Mr. Hassan mentions how his mother, on Thursdays, which was a sort of start of shabat for them, made food at home for him to distribute outside. Growing up, he was always taught at home and through scripture, there is prayer and charity for a Muslim to take care of by way of duty. He sent out emails with the Muslims Against Hunger banner. “We reach out via a mobile soup kitchen, in at least twenty cities, including Toronto, Canada, to anyone in need. It is not about food; it is about engaging people.”IMG_3147IMG_3144IMG_3131
Paul continues with his own speech, “It’s not acceptable we have 49 million people who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Everyone is made in the image of God, after all, and should have the same privileges.” He also announces an impending Hunger Van event on November 16th promoting solidarity between Jews and Muslims at Tompkins Square Park for anyone interested in coming. Zamir adds that there is a Hare Krishna program sponsored by a kitchen to which Zamir contributed at that very same park Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays between 10:00 AM and 11 on Avenue A.

A percentage of the meals created by this Hunger Van program were subsequently distributed  by a small group of volunteers including Zamir Hassan at Tompkins Square Park in downtown Manhattan, the remainder of which was donated to a homeless shelter in Jersey.
to see volunteers in action click here…..

The Hunger Van was born in 2011 because MuslimsHunger van.Drive Against Hunger 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

IMG_3137The author of this blog, Alice M. Baskous, is a New Jersey resident and Hunter College grad who works in and frequents Manhattan Island where she spends many of her hours studying French, walking around, and writing poetry as well as fiction. She does community service with the homeless as well as hungry locals of Tompkins Square Park in downtown New York City three times a week between 10 AM and 11, and also at other Hunger Van sponsored events.

 

 

Muslim Home Schoolers Learn Charity By Feeding the Homeless with @HungerVan for @ZeroHunger @ShareAmerica

IMG_2973IMG_2974October 26, 2014. At a local mosque in Bayonne, New Jersey, in what seems to be a capacious, carpeted, and tidy basement area lined by many pillars where there are already many tables laid out for events, Hunger Van’sIMG_3027 IMG_2985Zamir Hassan addresses a community of young Muslims, some of whom are being schooled at home by their parents, on the importance of feeding the homeless and giving charity, which happens to be one of the Five Pillars of Islam or Zakat. The young folk, mostly ranging in age from 4 years old to their late twenties, seem to know each other already; and most of them are acquainted with Hanin Saeed, 11 years old, who along with her mother Tammy organizes the event by collecting donations and spreading the word on Fridays which they consider to be prayer days.  Tammy states that her family volunteered at the school Al-Ghazali’s last year, which is how they came to know of Hunger Van. IMG_2970
So this is how it came to pass, that all of the young people involved became aware of good work and charity through this type of hands-on experience which resulted in the production of 150 completely vegan meals – “Honey-B” sandwiches and “Chickaroo” salads, namely.
IMG_2989IMG_300421 kids, mostly girls wearing hijabs, received from Zamir Hassan around the brown paper-dressed tables, important information about what hunger is, or when one doesn’t know where one’s next meal is going to be from; how many people in the States are hungry, or roughly 49 million; and the definition of charity in Muslim society according to Hassan, who mentions Zakat which is giving a tithe of one’s wages to charity, and whose tradition stipulates that a man cannot go to bed if his neighbor is hungry.  No one holds back from this hands-on activity today, and no one needs extra instruction, but all tasks are meticulously performed by the people here.

There are brand new multicolored chopping knives which are mainly used for chopping salad, some girls are using, and I interrogate them. They affirm that last year, they took part in a Hunger Van event at their school, though one girl says it’s her very first time. They are all engaged in putting their chopped ingredients into a salad pot. Nabihah, a 5-year-old in a purple sweater, says its her first event, and 4-year-old Ismail, Tammy’s son, also says it’s his first event. Bisma and Barira, sisters attending NJCU, tell me it’s their first Hunger Van event, and that chopping salad is a good way of working out, and Falak who attends the nearby private school Saint Dominic’s, devoting all her attention to chopping and talking to Bisma and Barira, seems to be managing quite well on her own. The youngest kids will garnish the salad, assembly-line fashion. The event comprised the time slot from 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM, which IMG_2990IMG_3007IMG_3042made it a speedy day. IMG_2993

 

 

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to see volunteers in action please click the following link
https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/100326004352196375859/albums/6074398845157119921


Abo
ut HUNGER VAN
The HunIMG_3052ger Van was born in 2011 because MuslimsHunger van.Drive Against Hunger 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 IMG_3078author of this blog, Alice M. Baskous, is a New Jersey resident and Hunter College grad who works in and frequents Manhattan Island where she spends many of her hours studying French, walking around, and writing poetry as well as fiction. She does community service with the homeless as well as hungry locals of Tompkins Square Park in downtown New York City three times a week between 10 AM and 11, and also at other Hunger Van sponsored events.

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Columbia MSA – Service Learning project NAS feeds #Homeless for @ZeroHunger @ShareAmerica with @hungervan

“If you’re rich – you will eat when you want, and if you’re poor – you will eat when you can.” —ArIMG_3108abic proverb
October 26, 2014 – Columbia University, located at Morningside Heights at 116th Street and Broadway, is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York and the nation’s fifth oldest. Older than this reputed Ivy league institution is the practice of giving charity, which is also the Third Pillar of Islam, or Zakat, making it mandatory for Muslims to donate a tithe of their income to the needy people of the community so as to encourage the afflicted toward financial independence and active community participation. This Sunday morning’s Hunger Van turnout of student volunteers looked, in accordance with either coincidence or fate, old-school also; everyone was awake before eleven AM, eager to dive into the activity, and conservatively dressed.
IMG_3091Danial Saleem of the Muslim Student Association, or MSA, the student organizer of today’s event and first member of the University group to arrive, greeted both Zamir Hassan and the blogger in his company with a strong and friendly handshake, followed by a tall, young chemical engineering major, both of whom talk with Zamir about where the meeting’s going to be held. The group gradually gets bigger, and each person puts his or her best foot forward in carrying a load of Hunger Van boxes to the Lerner Building, through the side doors, and into the elevator for the fourth-floor meeting room where they will eventually be unpacked. It was heavy-lifting: testament to everyone’s being in form and fit for a morning’s work doing charity by assembling bagged packages of vegan supermarket goods.IMG_3049

The room’s ten adults, not counting Zamir Hassan and myself, include: Danial, Aziza, who is French born but has an Algerian background, Sara, Aletta, an exchange student at New School from Frankfurt, Germany, researching socio-economics of Muslim communities, Maimuna, Alaya, and Naimun. Danial introduces Zamir as being the founder of Muslims Against Hunger as well as Hunger Van. Zamir returns that Hunger Van has over 3,000 volunteers nationwide, and that it’s trying to solidify its efforts at Columbia U. which has incidentally stayed with Hunger Van, unlike some other colleges, NYU namely.  Zamir attests that more important than the act of doing charitable work is learning about good health, nutrition, and charity, especially during his short speech and question session.

Groceries employed in making the 100 or so meals included: Amy’s vegetarian organic lentil soup cans, bananas, cherry tomatoes, cranberries, granola bars, and variIMG_3055IMG_3035ous breads, bagels, and rolls. “Granola bars are great,” Mr. Hassan remarked to those assemIMG_3096bled. “I’m thinking of using them as part of our program.” According to strict regulations, Columbia stipulates there be no food-making, even if it entails only sandwiches. It is around 10 AM, and volunteers use Poly gloves in order to package, since that is all they will be able to do by stipulation. Through the window, there is a lovely view of the front University green and surrounding buildings, which happen to be architecturally quite nice. Three more people walk into the room in the middle of our efforts to help out.

Zamir states, “This is how I run the program around all the North AIMG_3051merica area. In this country, we don’t have a shortage of food; we throw away a lot of food, though America is the richest country.” Danial Saleem adds that some people are staying for distribution, which will take place at an uptown 168th Street shelter.

Mr. Hassan describes having in 2000 gone as a chaperone to a soup kitchen to feed 200 people, whereas now it’s 350 people a day. “From my tradition as a Muslim I’m not supposed to go to bed if my neighbors are hungry. Salat and zakat are mandatory, and charity must be done at least once a day.”IMG_3073IMG_3053

DaniIMG_3054al tells the room of volunteers, “We’re in that position (to be charitable); we have the privilege to lend a helping hand.” His parents  and brother from Atlanta, Georgia, also participated in the Hunger Van event until having to leave to catch their flight. Mr. Saleem, the father, is a medical doctor who received his training in Chicago and happens to be from the same city in Pakistan –  Karachi, the largest metIMG_3126ropolis – as Mr. Hassan. However, they were not previously acquainted.

Zamir Hassan along with a smaller group of student volunteers, all female, except for Mr. Hassan, traveled to the shelter to distribute the packaged meals and were well received.
To see volunteers in action visit link below
https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/100326004352196375859/albums/6074899430107312961


Abo
ut HUNGER VAN
The HunIMG_3052ger Van was born in 2011 because MuslimsHunger van.Drive Against Hunger 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 IMG_3078author of this blog, Alice M. Baskous, is a New Jersey resident and Hunter College grad who works in and frequents Manhattan Island where she spends many of her hours studying French, walking around, and writing poetry as well as fiction. She does community service with the homeless as well as hungry locals of Tompkins Square Park in downtown New York City three times a week between 10 AM and 11, and also at other Hunger Van sponsored events.