Interview: ICNA Relief
ICNA has been involved in the relief work since its inception in 1968. In 1992, ICNA Relief was established as a separate department of ICNA in order to better coordinate social services for Muslims in America. ICNA Relief is a Domestic Faith Based Social Service and Disaster Relief Organization, serving the needs of the under privileged in America.
Charity begins at home and the best charity is given our own back yards.
Alhamdulillah ICNA Relief has 15 Field Offices in United States. Our programs include; Disaster Relief, Muslim family Service, Funeral Services, Foster Care, Feed the Hungry, Feeding the Hungry and Shelter Care for Women.
The Message Magazine sat down with Sr. Malika Rushdan; Program Director ICNA Relief Boston Field Office to learn more about how ICNA Relief USA is working towards the alleviation of hunger in America.
Q Who benefits from IR feeding programs?
A Honoring the Prophetic tradition of caring for our neighbors, ICNA Relief USA serves all those in our community who are in need of food security, regardless of race, ethnicity or religious affiliation.
ICNA Relief served 70,000 people in 2009.
Q What type of feeding programs does IR provide?
A ICNA Relief USA meets the needy where they are, in their homes, on the street and in underserved communities. We provide meals on wheels, soup kitchens, food pantries and food vouchers, ensuring that our programs are accessible to all those in need. To date ICNA Relief has established 16 feeding programs in 12 states.
Q Why feed the hungry in America?
A Contrary to common perception, the poor in America are not adequately provided for through Government assistance. Today’s welfare benefits have not kept up with recent inflation. I often find families whose Food Stamps run out before the end of the month. Traditionally Food Stamps are only sufficient to purchase 3 weeks of food per month at best. Many families find their cupboards bare at the end of the month.
Q What makes ICNA Relief’s feeding programs unique?
A ICNA Relief USA is meeting the dietary needs of Muslims by providing Halal meals through our feeding programs. This past summer ICNA Relief Boston became the first Halal Summer Foods Program sponsored by the USDA and the MA Department of Education, serving all out of school youth nutritious lunches over the summer. The program was open to any youth age 18 or younger in our surrounding area. We were happy to see both Muslim and non-Muslim youth participating in the program.
Our Food Pantries are unique in that we are careful to select items which are more popular among Muslim immigrant populations such as Basmati rice, lentils, semolina, dry beans and grains. ICNA Relief USA is also one of the largest distributors of Qurbani meat in the US.
Food Pantries locations:
Boca Raton, FL
New York, NY
For more infomation, please visit www.ICNARelief.org or call at 718-658-7028.