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Muslim group hands out backpacks to Utica students


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By DANIEL P. BADER, Observer-Dispatch
 
UTICA — Children and families line up at the Back 2 School Giveaway in front of the Kemble Street mosque. The the Muslim Community Association of the Mohawk Valley teamed up with the national organization the Islamic Circle of North America to provide 200 backpacks loaded with school supplies to Utica children.

Ramadan is about fasting, and it’s also about charity.

In that spirit, and with the start of the school year around the corner, the Muslim Community Association of the Mohawk Valley handed out 200 backpacks to school-age children Sunday during the end of Ramadan celebration Eid ul Fitr.

“Through the month, we collected $2,000,” said Saboohi Durrani, Back 2 School Giveaway organizer. “There were backpacks, notebooks, pencils, highlighters, sharpeners … a whole pouch of supplies.”

Durrani and the association, which is based out of the Kemble Street mosque, partnered with a charitable group called the Islamic Circle of North America, which supplied the already-stuffed backpacks.

The giveaway was open to students of any faith, as was the celebration at the mosque, which included bouncy slides and a bounce house.

“There was a lot of food; we had a barbecue set up,” Durrani said.
It was the backpacks, however, that were the hot item. They were all handed out within two hours.

“We actually gave out everything,” Durrani said. “We had plans to go from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., but we ran out.”

The $2,000 was donated throughout the month of Ramadan by the mosques’ 100 to 150 members.

“This was our first (giveaway) in Utica,” Durrani said. “This was wonderful.”

Article Courtesy: Utica Observer-Dispatch