Ansaar-ul-Birr Community Services, ABCs, the social services branch of the Dar-us-Salaam community in College Park, Maryland hosted several successful events during the month of August! Backpacks, school supplies, goody bags, groceries, and over 1,000 meals were distributed during the events in August 2021. Among these events were the Backpack and School Supplies Giveaway, Kids Fun Festival, and Day of ‘Ashura iftar in addition to the biweekly Free Kid’s Lunch every Monday and Wednesday.

“We are expanding way past our usual community members. I am seeing new people and new faces at every event,” Sister Bibi, one of the organizers of Ansaar-ul-Birr, said.

Many of Ansaar-ul-Birr’s efforts are geared towards helping all community members – Muslims, non-Muslims, those new to the community, elderly, retired couples, orphans, single parents, and children, too. The Back-to-School Giveaway on August 15 was a great success, by the Will and Mercy of Allah, with 400 Backpacks and school supplies distributed, as well as 500 pounds of meat, 200 bags of groceries and 200 hot meals to help families kick start preparations for the 2021-2022 school year. 

To encourage fasting on the Day of ‘Ashura, ABCs also hosted a drive-thru iftar for the local Muslim community and handed out 300 meals that were given away in 10 minutes. ABCs staff and volunteers make a sincere effort to get to know the people and families coming to the events.

The events are about more than handing out food. “It’s checking in on our community members and making sure everyone feels welcome.” 

The events are about more than handing out food. “It’s checking in on our community members and making sure everyone feels welcome.” 

At the Kid’s Fun Festival, a reserved, hesitant mom came by the giveaway with two young children. When she was asked where she was from and what her name was, she disclosed that she was an Afghan refugee living in the area.

This is not Ansaar-ul-Birr’s first run-in with refugee families. In fact, in recent years, significant efforts are also focused on the muhajiroon, which are immigrants that include families that have fled war-torn areas and need assistance establishing new lives in the local area. This includes settling into a home, finding a job, and getting a car, etc.

Beyond assisting in the physical needs of the community, there are emotional and psychological benefits that flourish as a result of Ansaar-ul-Birr’s efforts. At the Kid’s (Drive-Thru) Fun Festival on Friday, August 27, 2021 at 5 PM – in which all 125 meals and 100 goody bags were gone by 5:15 PM, alhamdulilllah – several of these children have expressed their gratitude to Ansaar-ul-Birr with drawings, letters and customized message boards.


Many of the children have also mentioned that they are looking forward to beginning the school year with their new backpacks and that they love ABCs warm meals. “Arrange room, get a good night rest, adhkar every day and try my best…” a student sent her to-do list to an Ansaar-ul-Birr organizer after attending the Kid’s Fun Festival.

Ansaar-ul-Birr was awarded ‘Top Rated Non-Profit of 2021’ by Great Non-Profits with reviews that include, “This is an organization that makes miracles happen..” and that Ansaar-ul-Birr “is the heart and soul of our community.” 

Ansaar-ul-Birr operates under the office of the Imam of Dar-us-Salaam, Br. Safi Khan, who quotes Surah Al-Insan (ayah #9) of the Holy Qur’an which states,

إِنَّمَا نُطْعِمُكُمْ لِوَجْهِ اللَّهِ لَا نُرِيدُ مِنكُمْ جَزَاء وَلَا شُكُوراً

“We feed you for the pleasure of Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala, we are not looking for rewards or anything of that nature…” Imam Safi Khan often explains during Ansaar-ul-Birr events in action. 


Learn more about Ansaar-ul-Birr and from community members in the video below, which was made at the beginning of the pandemic:


Author: Amal Saadat