by Simran Kaur
Celebrating Inter Faith Week in Birmingham, 8 organisations engaged in supporting people in need. They collected food and clothing for Interfaith Food Outreach, offered at As-Suffa Institute on Saturday.
VIDEO: Not all people who benefited were homeless. Some struggle financially,
or just need company and a warm meal.
Sabir Kamal, Clifton Muslim Interfaith member and project manager for the event, talks about how the idea was born:
“Since it’s interfaith week in the UK, we thought of this idea of an interfaith food outreach program, for the needy people of Birmingham. So we teamed up with different faiths, which are the Muslims, the Sikhs, Mormons and the Jewish communities.”
The organiser points out how they aimed to reach people from all backgrounds, regardless of their faith:
“The service is open to all faiths, all gender, all age, and there’s no discrimination as such. We have food being served, and goody bags provided, as well as hot drinks and sleeping bags for those who are sleeping rough. We also had about 60 hygiene kits distribute out.”
The event organisers expected about 120 people in need of support to show up. They provided items such as sleeping bags, warm winter clothing, hot food as well as snacks, hot drinks. Hygiene goody bags were also distributed, containing items such as tooth brushes, tooth paste and shower gels.
Navneet Kaur Dharni, member of the Namdhari Sikh community, commented on what brought them all together:
“One of the core practices in all our religions is to help others. We all have the same message, just in different languages and in different words saying: the giver provides for us, for us to then help others.”
“Especially in these winter months, event like this are crucial. A lot of people may have gone through the year with some kind of housing situation or being financially unstable, and all of a sudden have lost their jobs. Statistics show those people suffer most during the winter times. Hostels get full up more because people want to be in the warm.”
One of the volunteers present, Naveed Ahmed, talks about how he sees such charitable events:
“We need people of substance to help make a difference in society. It’s not just about serving food. It’s about the interaction between people as some of them may just want to have a conversation, which can help boost their self-esteem.”
As for how many people they reached, the project manager speaks of a successful day:
“This has been a good turnout, although this is just one event with the other faiths. We are looking to create a long term project next year, to have all the faiths come together to help serve all the needy people of Birmingham.”
As-Suffa Institute housed the event, supported by Clifton Muslim Interfaith, Nisa Nashim, Namdhari Sikh community, Abraham Foundation, Hazrat Sultan Bahu Trust, Birmingham Outreach Foundation and Latter-Day Saints (Mormons).
The after event statistics provided by the organisers show that: