By Beth Brelje
Pocono Record Writer
August 20, 2013
Representatives from the Islamic Circle of North America brought 600 backpacks filled with school supplies to Matamoras on Monday to give them to students who will soon return to school.
ICNA came to Matamoras at the request of Zafar Chaudhary and Abdul Rauf, business partners who own four shops on Pennsylvania Avenue.
“We want to give back to the community because we have businesses here,” Chaudhary said.
The giveaway was in the parking lot of Smokers Choice cigarette store at 200 Pennsylvania Ave.
People from Port Jervis, N.Y., Dingmans Ferry and other places started lining up at noon.
The giveaway was advertised to start at 2 p.m.
By then, some 300 children were waiting in line with their parents.
Eastern Pike Regional Police stopped by for crowd control, although the crowd was well mannered.
“I think every kid said thank you,” said Matamoras Mayor Janet Clark, who volunteered to help hand out the backpacks.
“It’s a wonderful idea, not just for Matamoras but for the whole area. We should do more of this working together.”
Children got to choose the color of backpack, folders and notebook. The backpacks also contained pencils, a sharpener and scissors. There were no advertisements or religious markings on the packs or on any of the items inside the packs.
The giveaway was advertised with post cards left in local businesses. In some cases, ICNA members go door to door with the post cards, inviting people in need to the giveaway, said Shakaib Jamal, the New York coordinator of the ICNA Back to School Giveaway.
The giveaway, which started in New York with just 1,000 backpacks, is now in its fifth year. This year the group expects to give away 30,000 backpacks in 12 states.
ICNA is a nonprofit organization based in Jamaica, N.Y.
According to its website, ICNA “seeks to obtain the pleasure of Allah through working for the establishment of Islam in all spheres of life. ICNA has many projects, programs, and activities which are designed to help in the process of molding the individual and reforming society at large.”
The organization is dedicated to the betterment of society through the promotion of Islamic values.
“This is the real Islam,” Chaudhary said, “to share what God gave to you with others.”
A & Z Smoke Shop employee Yolanda King, and Matamoras Mayor Janet Clark hand out backpacks with school supplies to Lebron Gandy, 7; Aaliyah CQ Gandy, 4; with their mother Sherri Gandy, all from Port Jervis, N.Y.. and Daniel Leonard, 9, also of Port Jervis patiently waits for his turn to choose the colors of his folders and backpack.
Beth Brelje/Pocono Record.
Article Courtesy: Pocono Record