US Muslim community in Dallas pack survival kits for homeless / Pics

Muslim volunteers from across Dallas in the United States of America, have won a round of applause and even a few "Amens" from the homeless huddled inside a Dallas shelter on Saturday.

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Muslim volunteers from across Dallas in the United States of America, have won a round of applause and even a few "Amens" from the homeless huddled inside a Dallas shelter on Saturday.

Ma'ruf, a nonprofit designed to help local refugees, organized the donation drive at four sites: Allen, Valley Ranch, Colleyville and Fort Worth, Dallas News reported. "We're Muslim, but we care about everyone," Urooj Waheed said at the Austin Street Shelter. "We're here to help you guys and let you know you're not alone."

Waheed and his wife Sobia Waheed were among about 125 volunteers in Allen -- children, parents, and grandparents who packed survival kits that contained bottled water, socks, deodorant, toothpaste, a toothbrush, a washcloth and a blanket.

About 200 volunteers in all assembled the donations, which amounted to about $10,000. Sobia Ali, the main coordinator for the event, first started outreach to the homeless out of her home about nine years ago. In the first year, 15 women bagged about 200 lunches. Over the holy month of Ramadan, in July, they provided 450 sandwiches to a shelter. This year, she collaborated with Mar'uf to expand their reach.

"As a Muslim, it's my responsibility," Ali said. "We're taught to help anyone in need, Muslim or not." She tells her three kids that they have been blessed and it is their job to help those being tested.

Saher Sayed, aged 15, said her faith informs her desire to help those outside the Muslim community. She recalls an encounter at the shelter a year ago when a man who received a donation started to cry and said he never learned about Islam but would visit a mosque.

But there's no agenda behind the gesture, said President of Ma'ruf, Faiez Usman.

"There's no such thing as Muslim issues," Usman said. There are issues. Every issue needs its attention."
Rodney Jackson, who has been homeless for five years, was one of about a dozen men who waited outside the Austin Street Shelter, huddled in jackets.

The facility, which has a capacity of just over 400 people, was already packed. Upon learning about the donation, Jackson said, it's good to know that people were there to help. "I'm real happy to know somebody cares about us," he said.

Terry Patrick, who was also waiting outside, said there was more grace on display there than at other shelters.
"It ain't always like this," a grateful Patrick said as he picked up his survival kit.

Other members of the homeless community clapped, and a few hollered "Amen" to show their appreciation
The Muslim donors, including children as young as age five, gave out 400 bags to those staying at the shelter. A stream of "thank you" and "God bless you" followed.

Amaar Huda, an eight-year-old who helped distribute bags, said he "felt grateful because he was helping needy people."

After they had finished handing out donations, Urooj took the children aside to debrief.

"We have to ask ourselves: Why did Allah give us so much? We didn't do anything to deserve it. It's a blessing Allah gives you," Waheed told the children. "What we did should make you feel good, but it shouldn't be something you brag about. We should be doing more."


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