MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) — West Virginia University’s Muslim Students Association (MSA) partnered with Islamic Relief USA on Sunday afternoon with the goal of packing 30,000 meals for nearby food shelters.
Vice President of the WVU Muslim Students Association Omar Sabbagh said that events like these are important for getting Muslims and non-Muslims to work together, and put their combined energy into helping the people who need help the most.
“This is what Islam is,” Sabbagh said, gesturing to the more than 100 volunteers who were busy packing meals. “It’s helping people that truly need it, and being there for the community because most of these meals are not going to Muslims. These meals are going to everyone that needs it, and this is who we are as Muslims.”
The meals were built with an assembly line of volunteers and consisted of basmati rice, dehydrated carrot flakes, halal pinto beans, and a seven-spice mix. Halal is an Arabic word that means “lawful” or “permitted” and means the food has been prepared in accordance with Islamic tradition.
Although West Virginia may not have a large Muslim population, the President of the WVU Muslim Students Association Omar Ibraheem said that he feels their small size can be a positive as well.
“Sometimes I’m thankful for this small community because it kind of makes us more connected and stronger together,” Ibraheem said. “Although we’re smaller in numbers, we are powerful in our voices.”
Last year, Ibraheem said the MSA and Islamic relief packed more than 70,000 meals, which were also distributed to local area food banks.
“That’s why we’re trying to be so loud with our small numbers, we’ve got to make up for that,” Ibraheem said. “We want to have the most positive impact we can on those around us.”
Sabbagh said that more than 120 volunteers came to help pack the meals, with most volunteers not being Muslim or members of the MSA or Islamic relief organizations.