Maidenhead Mosque Food Parcels Helped Hundreds During Lockdown15 Sep 2020
The coronavirus crisis and the resulting restrictions on our lives have been part of our lives for better part six months now. And in those six months, we have seen many mosques and Islamic charities organise fundraisers and donation drives to make sure that those most vulnerable have what they need. Among those was the Maidenhead Mosque and Islamic Centre.
The mosque launched its emergency food parcel project back in March, shortly after lockdown came in place and bringing essentials to the many members of the local community. The donation drive complemented the around-the-year food work the mosque already had in place over the past 10 years.
In the six months since the lockdown, around 3,000 food parcels have reached those who need them.
The donations were gathered from local worshippers
The mosque collected its donations from the local Muslims of Maidenhead, quickly gathering enough to purchase vital supplies for many locals who were unable to go out and do their shopping on their own.
Everything from daily goods such as cereals, milk and fruits to more bespoke items were delivered to residents. As the organisers became more experienced, they started offering more diverse services such as helping patients to hospitals for appointments and obtaining prescriptions.
Indeed, the Maidenhead Mosque is currently working with other mosques and one charity to start up similar projects. Members of the mosque have also been training more volunteers to increase the reach of its activities.
“I’d like to thank you very much for your goodies”
For those residents of Maidenhead who received the parcels, the help they got was a lifeline in an otherwise difficult situation. Many of them were elderly, with children or otherwise at higher risk of exposure.
Yet for others, the help they got from the volunteers was a reminder that they are not alone out there, despite practicing social-distancing.
In all cases, their appreciation was evident in their words.
“Thank you everybody for everything you have done for me,” said one resident, who said that the volunteer who visited him kept him safe.
Others expressed thanks for the food they received, knowing fully that doing their shopping on their own would be too dangerous or too difficult in those times.
And for the volunteers, knowing that they helped people is all they need.
“The best gift you can give someone is your time without expecting anything in return. True happiness is in helping and serving others,” said one volunteer said, speaking to Urban Muslimz.
Other charities are also continuing their work
The Maidenhead Mosque is not the only organisation to continue food donations six months into UK’s coronavirus epidemic.
In London, Bearded Broz joined up with Muslims in Rail and Gifto’s Lahore Karahi restaurant to feed the city’s homeless population, which grew massively due to loss of jobs and livelihoods in the service sector.
These efforts represent an on-going trend of Muslim charities providing for the needy across the UK. Indeed, the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims described these efforts as playing “an essential role in contributing to the social welfare of the UK.”
It was estimated that the charity potential of British Muslims, often in the form of Zakat and peaking during the Holy Month of Ramadan, totals to about £500 Million annually.
Such charity aid not only went to general charity needs, but also in response to specific incidents. For instance, the Human Appeal’s annual ‘Wrap Up’ campaign, in partnership with Hands on London, saw the collection of 25,000 winter coats and other warm clothing for rough sleepers and refugees in major British cities.
It is estimated that over 300,000 homeless people were assisted alone, with as many as 200,000 meals and 500,000 drinks provided.
Similarly, in the aftermath of the Grenfell Fire, the Grenfell Muslim Response Unit (GMRU) was established and went on to collect £40,000 for the victims.
All of these efforts show that the spirit of charity is alive and well among British Muslims.