MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University’s Muslim Students Association (MSA), along with Islamic Relief USA and other volunteers, joined forces to pack 30,000 meals for those in need locally and overseas on Nov. 12.
This meal packing took place between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. In the gold room of the Evansdale Residential Campus. Each meal packed feeds up to six people and includes rice, vegetables and other needed nutrients. The palate of the meals change based on the area that is being served. Sometimes 30,000 meals will be 30,000 meals, and other times it will go to families who will have a little extra food.
After boxes finish getting packed up, they will go depending on where they are needed. It is hard to predict when things will happen around the world, but the organization is always prepared for when they need to send food out. These meals will go into containers and sail over seas. Said Durrah, Islamic Relief USA, assistant director of volunteer engagement, said, “we usually know within about two to three weeks where we have a feeling they may go, just know that they’re going to a family that’s desperately waiting for these things, and we’re just so happy and that’s why we tell all the volunteers, when you’re sealing that box, couple months from now, someone is gonna unseal that box and it’s gonna be a family in need. And that’s just, a great feeling.”
The goal of MSA is to unite everyone, not just Muslim students. So they advertised the event through multiple ways in which a lot of extra volunteers came out to help the organizations. However, the idea for the event came about when the MSA saw that the University of Pittsburgh had done it before. President of the student organization, Shahd Hanif, reached out to the university to find a way to reach out to Islamic Relief USA, and they partnered together for Saturday.
Hanif mentioned why she feels it is important to help those struggling with food insecurity throughout the world. She said, “we have to realize the privilege that we have here, even the underprivileged in America get a lot of assistance, so we seek to help people that are here and overseas, and um, this way of helping people not only helps others but it also helps us as a community of different face and everything. And the unity is what brings people together.”
Islamic Relief USA is a non-profit humanitarian and advocacy organization that started in 1993. They have about 25,000 volunteers, including the 100 that participated on Saturday. When student groups are looking for ways to give back, Islamic Relief USA shows up so that students can give through the organization, rather than to it.
The organization travels from university to university, where meals consistently get packed to help those in need. The same project was being done at the University of Cincinnati, while WVU was also partaking. If your university or organization is interested in giving through this organization, you can find more information here.
If interested in helping with any future events involving WVU’s Muslim Students Association, you can find them through flyers, WVU’s E-news and the mosque.