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07 7 20

Muslim Charity to Host Fresh Produce Distribution

Islamic Circle of North America Relief has begun distributing fresh produce from USDA Farmers to Families Program. Distributions are scheduled 3 to 6 p.m. every Thursday at Masjid Al-Momineen, 837 N. Indian Creek in Clarkston and 6 to 7 p.m. every Friday at Moores Mill Village Apartment, 2453 Coronet Way NW, Atlanta.
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07 7 20

Glendale Heights Plans Food Distribution

A food distribution event for families affected by COVID-19 will be from 9:30 a.m. through 1 p.m. Saturday, June 13, in the parking lot of Camera Park, 101 E. Fullerton Ave., Glendale Heights.
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07 3 20

Transition home offers solutions for women with no place else to go

Muna had only been in the U.S. for a few years when she and her husband decided to separate. A refugee from Iraq, Muna spoke little English. Other than her children, she had no family in the country and had never lived on her own before. “Where can I go?” she thought.

She called the International Rescue Committee and they recommended a women’s transition house. The house, run by ICNA Relief, an Islamic charity organization, had strict rules. But Muna was glad to find a safe place to stay, and one with an Islamic environment.

In a quiet neighborhood in East Plano, the ICNA transition house provides a roof — and stability — for women who have no other place to go. It’s open to women of all faiths and does not promote any religious beliefs. But it also addresses the unique needs of Muslim women, which ICNA Relief’s leadership says is not the case in other area shelters.

Clients face a wide range of circumstances. Some have experienced chronic homelessness, while others, like Muna, have left their husbands and have no work experience. Former residents say the home helped them become independent and confident. Muna and another client agreed to speak with The Dallas Morning News on the condition that only their first names be used for privacy reasons.

Unlike a traditional shelter, transitional housing is intended to be a long-term solution to help those experiencing homelessness gain self-sufficiency. This transition home is one of the few in North Texas that serves women experiencing homelessness.

Community leaders endorse the house’s mission. Imam Omar Suleiman, founder and president of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research, says the house’s staff members make their clients feel welcome. “They work from such a deep sense of purpose and faith, that they’re really vested in the real success of the victims…” he said.

Strict requirements

The transition house is one of 23 houses nationwide operated by ICNA Relief. Since resources are limited, all have strict eligibility requirements, only accepting women who are able-bodied, have no serious mental health issues and have not been involved in a partner-abuse situation.

The Dallas home, which at any given time can house up to 10 people, was built in October 2018. Since then, it has served 22 women and 18 children. Only three women have backslid into homelessness, all struggling with their mental health, said Hala Halabi, who oversees refugee programs for ICNA Relief and is the transition home’s site director.

Halabi helps manage multiple programs for ICNA Relief in North Texas but spends a lot of time on this one. “We don’t call it a shelter, because it’s not a shelter,” she said. “It is a program that helps sisters to stand on their feet again.”

Halabi said that women would call her, crying. They felt out of place at shelters in the area. Some were forced to eat pork since there were few other food options at shelters, she said. Others might get bullied for wearing the hijab or for praying.

Suleiman says discrimination against Muslim women in shelters is a common experience. Shelters are overwhelmed, he said, and sometimes don’t have the time or willingness to understand the unique needs of Muslims.

That doesn’t happen at the transition home, where ICNA Relief provides halal meat, and women can practice their religion free of judgment in private rooms.

A messy separation

Muna’s separation from her husband was messy, and their kids got caught in the middle. He ended up calling Child Protective Services, but the mother retained custody. A few months later, a teacher noticed a mark on one of the kids’ faces and reported it to child protective services, and the children were taken from Muna, said Halabi. ICNA Relief helped place the kids in a foster home run by a Muslim family.

“Everything was new. I didn’t know anything,” Muna said in Arabic. “With my husband, with the house, with the new living space and the situation with my children.”

After leaving the transition house, Muna reconciled with her husband to regain custody of her kids. CPS recently visited her new apartment and deemed it a safe living space for the kids, Halabi said.

ICNA Relief helps clients with food, jobs and transportation. Through donations, the organization provided Muna with a car and helped her find an overnight shift at a warehouse in Farmers Branch.

The East Plano Islamic Center has typically supported the transition house with $1,000 each month, said Riyad Chowdhury, who handles finances for the mosque. The center has also provided financial assistance for some of the women after they leave the home.

Chowdhury says ICNA Relief needs a second transition house in North Texas, given the current economic crisis. “Sister Hala is doing a very good job,” he said. “But she’s a one-person show in this area.”

Improving their skills

Sumbal, a Pakistani immigrant, stayed at the Dallas transition home for a year. Her husband cheated on her, then kicked her out of their home, leading a friend to recommend the transition house.

At first, Sumbal said she had a difficult time adjusting to the house’s strict rules. Residents are not allowed in the house from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. During these working hours, they must be out, either working, looking for a job or improving their skills. This includes their children, who in a normal life would have to be dropped off at a babysitter or daycare. These rules did not apply during the stay-at-home orders.

“We don’t give them a chance to be lazy,” Halabi said. Still, ICNA Relief helps them find jobs and people to look after their kids.

Sumbal said the home’s rules taught her how to manage everyday life and become independent. At weekly meetings, she discussed her goals with Halabi and other case managers. She learned how to multitask, manage her time and think critically.

“When I first got there, I didn’t have a lot of confidence,” Sumbal said in Urdu. She was concerned that she would not be able to live alone and work alone, as well as take care of her kids. “I didn’t have a lot of confidence in knowing I could do all of those things by myself.”

She credits Halabi and the organization with helping her realize that she can still live a full life without having to depend on her husband. “With their help,” she said, “I started to remake my life.”

Alyssa Fernandez, an archives and research associate, contributed to this report.

Article Courtesy:

07 3 20

Houses of Worship Help Battle Food Insecurity in Orange County

Mosques, synagogues, churches, Gurudwaras and other religious institutions are all finding ways to feed communities across the country and many are among the distribution sites in Orange County getting food to the people who need it.

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06 1 20

Emergency Distribution by St. John’s Kitchen & ICNA Relief

ICNA Relief USA New Jersey, in coordination with St. John’s Soup Kitchen, will distribute food and hygiene supplies outside of St. John’s Roman Catholic Church in Newark to low-income individuals and families.
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05 28 20

Corona crisis: US witnesses rise in hunger, poverty and unemployment

The world’s largest economy, the US, is facing extreme hunger and poverty as the economic activities have been affected due to the corona pandemic while many forecast dark days ahead due to continued economic shutdowns.

In certain cases, bread-earners have become victim to coronavirus and their families are in trouble as they cannot run their houses and pay rents while some of them, who are already suffering from some disease, cannot go out for work due to fatality of coronavirus.

On the other hand, during the past eight or nine weeks 36 million people have become jobless while there is an apprehension that the real number is more than this figure.

According to a 2018 report, 37.2 million people including 1.12 million belong to such families who are facing food shortage and the uncertainty in availability of food in the US means that appropriate food is not available for a healthy life.

The institution Feeding America opines that the 37.2 million number could rise and this year one out of four children would be facing hunger. In Texas, 10 thousand people gather outside food distributing banks and in Florida there are miles long queues of cars for getting food from these banks.

Experts say that the food stamp program launched by the federal government is insufficient which aims at providing food support to people which they can get from shops in normal days.

On the contrary, in the US city of Wisconsin milkmen are forced to waste thousands of gallons of milk due to closure of milk pasteurization plants as there are not enough buyers. In Florida, fresh beans crop was ploughed down and in California no crops were harvested at all and were left to burn out.

Similar reports are received from other parts of the country as in Minnesota 10 thousand pigs were killed while millions of chickens were done away with also because meatpacking plants were closed.

Caitlin Welsh, Director Global Food Security Program at Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Washington, says that Americans are amazed over this situation as on hand they are wasting away food while on the other they are facing food scarcity.

She says they have abundant food and vegetables and even animals for meat-loving countries but the issue is that of supply chain, how to provide them these commodities. The US government has provided 19 billion dollars aid to farmers under coronavirus food aid program while it also talked about buying fresh dairy and meat produce and to distribute these among people.

People are facing difficulties despite aid from the government. According to a Pakistan-based organization, ICNA, many families are in extreme difficulty due to limited resources and non-availability of funds.

This philanthropist organization has helped five lakh people during the past two months. Those without citizenship documents are even in the worst state as they are not entitled to any help from the government.

In the Muslim month of Ramazan when Iftar is usually arranged mosques and everyone could come and join it but this time around mosques remained closed as no Iftar was arranged.

The ICNA is providing non-perishable items to the needy which include dates, flour, sugar, cooking oil, rice, pulses, eggs, vegetables and fruits, ensuring that the food is sufficient for two weeks needs of a family comprising five members.

However, philanthropist organizations and food banks are thronged by people as according to Greater Pittsburg Community Food Bank, one such organization, working in 11 counties in Pennsylvania the number of seeking food aid has increased five hundred per cent — in normal circumstances it spent 5-6 lac dollars on food distribution in March and April but this year during the same months the amount spent was 17 lac dollars.

Experts say that the people will be benefitted when they will start receiving 2.3 trillion dollars aid announce by the government but reportedly so far people did not receive aid cheques as online information tells them it is under process.

The aid organizations are also facing difficulties besides there are problems in the supply system as a number of their orders have been cancelled. Another serious concern is that in the coming days nutritious food may not be within reach of people as in difficult times people minimize their expenditure and spend less on food.

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05 26 20

Islamic organization gives 9,000 lbs of food to Northern Diné COVID-19 Relief Effort

SHIPROCK — An Islamic group donated 9,000 pounds of food as well as other supplies to the Northern Diné COVID-19 Relief Effort on May 25. These supplies will be distributed in care packages to people who live in the northern area of the Navajo Nation, including in Shiprock.

The Islamic Circle of North America Relief has been working to address needs during the COVID-19 pandemic nationwide.

The Arizona chapter of ICNA Relief organized the food donation on May 25 and arrived with a semi-trailer full of donated goods in the evening.

“We want to make sure people have food, they don’t have to go hungry,” said Salina Imam, the director of the Arizona chapter.

State Rep. Anthony Allison, D-Fruitland, said his colleague, Rep. Abbas Akhil, D-Albuquerque, reached out to him following a virtual town hall he participated in. Allison said Akhil’s wife, Habiba, reached out to groups like ICNA Relief and arranged for the donations. In addition to the 9,000 pounds of food, she arranged a donation of 30,000 bottles of water from another group the previous week.

The Northern Diné COVID-19 Relief Effort relies largely on donations and volunteers to distribute care packages to families in need.

“It’s amazing how much it’s grown,” said Kyle Jim, the chief volunteer coordinator.

Jim’s mother, JoAnn Lameman, said the scale of the operation has increased over the past 11 weeks.

“I didn’t expect this to happen,” she said as the group began unloading the donated supplies. “It started small, from my garage.”

Breanna Lameman said the group tailors the care packages to meet the needs of the families that receive them.

People wanting to help can call 505-226-3073 or 505-427-0084 or email

More information about ICNA Relief is available at

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at

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05 23 20

PPE Safety kits distributed at the ICNA Relief Eid Gift Drive

(Houston-TX) In unprecedented challenge of COVID-19 has hit the residents of 4th largest Metropolis of USA – Houston. The Pakistani community jointly launched its relief efforts. The Consulate General of Pakistan in Houston joined Pakistani organizations such as Pakistan Association of Greater Houston (PAGH), Alliance for Disaster Relief & others.

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05 23 20

NY Halal Group’s Call for Rice Donations Answered

By Rachel Weiss, April 21, 2020

Ammad Sheikh and his friends started the Long Island Halal Guide Facebook group as a place for fellow halal connoisseurs to weigh in on Long Island restaurants and make connections. What started as a “little foodie community,” as Sheikh puts it, turned into a network of more than 3,500 members.
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05 22 20

Chicago Community COVID-19 Fund awards ICNA Relief

by Asma Jarad, Daily Herald

An award of $25,000 was given by the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund in recognition of ICNA Relief’s outstanding impact and tireless efforts to meet the needs of those impacted by COVID-19 through wage loss, school closures or other extreme circumstances.
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05 18 20

Food distribution held in Boynton Beach, South Florida

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — The economic fallout continues to unravel with more staggering unemployment numbers in America.
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05 3 20

Giveaway of hygiene products during coronavirus

By Lucas Phillips, Globe Correspondent
Before the coronavirus began to spread, it might have been hard to guess how appreciated toilet paper and disinfectant would be this weekend.
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05 2 20

NorCal restaurants serve meals to health care workers

By Emily Maher, KCRA Channel 3
Restaurants across the country are making sure health care workers at the frontlines are getting a hot meal.
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05 1 20

Muslim charity packs & distributes essentials

By Asma, Neighbor, Apr 7, 2020
ICNA Relief Chicago is distributing food boxes to those who have lost their jobs, homebound elderly, widows, and other low-income neighbors.
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04 24 20

Amid pandemic, Texas relief agencies outreach to refugees

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Rescue Committee in Dallas had a plan — to encourage its clients to fill out the Census. Now the rescue committee and other groups are also making sure their clients — many of whom are refugees — have enough to eat and know how to stay safe.
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04 23 20

City Sees Progress with Social Distancing as Mayor de Blasio Fights COVID-19

NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio announced today that social distancing measures are helping the City fight COVID-19, according to three indicators tracking hospital admissions for suspected COVID-19 cases, ICU occupants in NYC Health + Hospitals facilities, and percent of city residents testing positive for the virus.

“We can’t let the natural desire to go back to normal life interfere with our efforts to defeat the virus,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This is not a battle we can fight alone; the choices ordinary New Yorkers are making at every hour of each day hold the key to fighting COVID-19.”

Admissions for suspected COVID-19 cases at hospitals citywide continue to decline. Yesterday, on April 22, there were only 227 admissions citywide. Comparatively, on March 31, there were 850 admissions for suspected COVID-19 cases citywide

The daily number of people in ICUs across NYC Health + Hospitals with suspected cases of COVID-19 continues to decline. On April 14, Health + Hospitals was at double its ICU capacity system wide, with approximately 887 individuals being treated in ICUs. That number is now 796. To alleviate the burden on NYC Health + Hospitals, the City has added ICU beds at facilities citywide, and surged military and volunteer personnel across the system.

As the City continues to expand its testing capacity, the number of individuals testing positive for the virus at the City’s public health lab increased to 57% percent. The number of individuals being tested citywide in private labs decreased, however, to 33%.

You can find these metrics

Additionally, in keeping with the commitment to feed all New Yorkers in need during the COVID-19 public health crisis, the Mayor and NYC COVID-19 Food Czar Kathryn Garcia announced plans to significantly increase the City’s supply and distribution of halal meals during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, which begins today, Thursday, April 23. The City is prepared to serve over 500,000 meals during Ramadan via DOE grab-and-go meals and partnerships with community based organizations (CBOs).

As part of this effort, the City will:

  • Increase supply of halal meals at 32 DOE Grab & Go sites across all five boroughs with large Muslim populations by 25%
    • This amounts to 400,000 meals
    • In addition to the 32 receiving this increase, all 400+ sites will continue to have halal meals available
  • Distribute an additional 150,000 meals in multi-meal pantry boxes to nine community-based organizations serving Muslim New Yorkers. These CBOs will then arrange bulk pick-up or delivery for the communities they serve.

The community based organizations partnering in this effort are:

  • ICNA Relief
  • Apna/ICNA Relief
  • Al-Madinah Incorporated
  • Muslims Giving Back
  • Muslim Women’s Institute for Research and Development (MWIRD)
  • American Council of Minority Women
  • Arab American Association of New York
  • Council of People’s Organization
  • Yemeni American Merchants Association (YAMA)

The full list of school sites with increased Halal meals are listed at

To date, the City’s effort to feed all New Yorkers has distributed nearly 7 million meals across multiple programs.

Article Courtesy:

04 17 20

Scholars help U.S. Muslims tackle unforeseen situation

By Anwar Iqbal
WASHINGTON: The coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented fiqhi and spiritual issues for the Muslim community in the United States, says Dr Asif Hirani, an Islamic scholar helping the community deal with this crisis.
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04 17 20

Groups step up to help neighbors during outbreak

From small business fundraisers to window sign drives and grocery giveaways, here’s how West Ridge neighbors are helping during the outbreak.
By Joe Ward, Rogers Park, Edgewater, Uptown Reporter
WEST RIDGE — With West Ridge having one of the largest coronavirus clusters in the state, residents and local groups are making sure their neighbors are equipped to handle the outbreak.
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04 16 20

Food Boxes Donated to Healthcare Workers

The Islamic Circle of North America Relief organization will distribute 85 meals and food boxes worth $50 each, and thank you cards to healthcare workers on Friday, April 17 at the AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center GlenOaks (701 Winthrop Avenue, Glendale Heights Illinois 60139) from 5 pm to 9 pm.

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04 14 20

West Ridge Groups Help Neighbors Impacted By COVID-19

WEST RIDGE — With West Ridge having one of the largest coronavirus clusters in the state, residents and local groups are making sure their neighbors are equipped to handle the outbreak.

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