WEST RIDGE — A Muslim charity will give away halal meat products Thursday to Chicago-area residents in need.
ICNA Relief USA, the nationwide charity providing aid to refugees and other marginalized groups, will host a food and school supply giveaway from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday at its West Ridge resource center and food pantry, 2809 W. Devon Ave.
The giveaway will include fresh meat that has been prepared according to Islamic rules, making the product “halal” or permissible for Muslims to eat, according to ICNA Relief. About 30,000 pounds of halal meat will be available to distribute during the event.
West Ridge was the hardest hit community during the early days of the coronavirus outbreak in Chicago. Its population of immigrant and refugee residents has been severely impacted by the virus and the economic fallout it caused, neighborhood organizers have said.
Demand for food pantry services has increased, but those don’t regularly carry halal products, according to ICNA Relief.
““Halal meat, unfortunately, is not available in most grocery stores nor via most food banks or food pantries,” Dr. Saima Azfar, the Midwest Regional Director of ICNA Relief, said in a statement. “Rarely donated to food pantries, it is the number one most requested and least available item in ICNA Relief’s food pantries, year-round.”
ICNA Relief will also give out “hundreds” of back packs and other school supplies at Thursday’s giveaway.
The event is open to the public and all guests must wear masks during the distribution.
So far this year, ICNA Relief has distributed more than 50,000 pounds of food to more than 20,000 people in the Chicago area, leaders said.