Muslims Donate $26,000 to the Greater Chicago Food Depository
"He is not a true follower who eats to his satisfaction and sleeps comfortably at night while his neighbor goes hungry - and he is aware of it."
Hadith of theProphet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him
Under the visionary leadership of Zakat Chicago, a committee of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, on May 5, the Greater Chicago Food Depository received a check for more than $20,000 to provide supplies for food pantries across Chicagoland. The Northern Illinois Food Bank received another $6,000 for food for the needy in the collar counties.
"Zakat Chicago has been supporting local food pantries for three years, but this year we decided to take this route to ensure that all the money is spent on food and the system is more centralized," said Maqsood Quadri, board member of CIOGC who played an instrumental role in this project. "At a time when hate against Muslims is on the rise across the nation, it is crucial to be proactive in letting our neighbors know that Muslims are helping anyone who needs assistance."
Four food pantries will now be able to fax their orders to the larger depositories and avail low prices and bulk discounts to stock up their shelves for the needy in their area. While the UMMA Center pantry in Glenview, the Ministry of the Faithful to God, Masjid Kaaba and Sanad in Chicago are all run by Muslims, they do not deny anyone who needs food.
"The Greater Chicago Food Depository was very grateful for the donation," said Quadir Hussain Khan, chairperson of Zakat Chicago. "They gave us a tour of the facility and we explained how zakat is an obligatory charity for Muslims. Our mission is "Local Collection Local Distribution" and this was a perfect example to demonstrate how the needy in Chicagoland have a right on our zakat as well."
In addition to the food pantry project, Zakat Chicago also assists seniors, those who need healthcare, weekend schools, halfway houses and in developing homegrown scholars. The eight-member committee meets monthly to discuss the most efficient and impactful way to distribute the Zakat funds. With a 2011 budget close to $240,000, Zakat Chicago has been seeing a steady uptick in donations since its inception and has plans for bigger and better projects in the future.
"There is a great need to channel Zakat funds in an organized manner that avoids duplication," said Khan. "We have some mosques in Chicago that have a surplus of Zakat funds whereas others that have negligible collections. Zakat Chicago aims to create an efficient system so that the funds are distributed efficiently and in a timely manner."
Read an in-depth story about the accomplishments and plans of Zakat Chicago in the June issue of the Chicago Crescent.
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