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“People need to eat,” a volunteer said. Plastic bags conceal warm platters and chips and are transferred onto a collapsable table. Tender palms deliver the meals to the car windows of unfamiliar guests; the faint chill of a cloudy afternoon displaced by the heat of each dish. Before each table stands the masked volunteers of Dar-us-Salaam.

“This is what we can do inshaa’ Allah, to at least get them things to eat. The goal is to make sure that whatever there is going on right now, after Covid 19— a lot of people are without jobs, and it’s hard for them to put food on the table. If there is even a small thing that Dar-us-Salaam can do. . . that is the goal,” the volunteer continued. 

Displaying the slogan, “Come One, Come All,” Dar-us-Salaam’s flyers welcomed College Park residents to free meals regardless of both religion and familiarity with the mosque.

“This is what we can do inshaa’ Allah, to at least get them things to eat. The goal is to make sure that whatever there is going on right now, after Covid 19— a lot of people are without jobs, and it’s hard for them to put food on the table.

“We are geared to help the Muslim and local community here in College Park with a food drive,” said another volunteer. “We want to be good neighbors,” the volunteer stated.

With only a few days and the assistance of regular helpers to prepare, Dar-us-Salaam has acquainted itself with the protocols of frequent drives to be held every two to three weeks. Safi Khan, founder and Imam of Dar-us-Salaam, noted that the objectives of the drives are “to serve the community and get the message of Islam out there, to let people know that Muslims are a part of the community, and that the Muslims are active members of the community.”

Volunteers in neon vests skirted about the vehicles and tables as Khan spoke. “The community is very forthcoming, so it makes it easier. . . we are trying to get more and more youth involved, but in general, Alhamdulilah we have reliable volunteers, so that’s what makes us able to do it so often,” Khan said.

“We want to be good neighbors,” the volunteer stated.

As the event receded to a close, 500 meals had been distributed. With the help of Allah and devoted volunteers, Dar-us-Salaam endeavors to forge and maintain connections with the people of its community. Dar-us-Salaam has also been hosting recurring “Trunk to Trunk” grocery giveaway since Friday, October 16th, 2020.  The grocery giveaways, warm meals and winter clothing gear giveaways have become a recurring event.

As 2020 nears the end, the updated numbers have reached 60,000 pounds of food given, 688 school supplies kits, 2,600 hot meals, and 250 winter gear packages (socks, hats, facemask, and gloves), alhamdulillah.

 

 

Author: Mecca Mustafa

Mecca Mustafa graduated from the University of Maryland at College Park with a degree in English and minors in Creative Writing and Arabic. She also attended Al-Huda School as a young Muslimah :)