WORCESTER, Mass. — Several hundred families received free boxes of food on Sunday, thanks to kind donations from the Worcester Islamic Center.
According to the center’s president, the organization wanted to provide meals for families who may be struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The drive-thru food donation comes at a time when Worcester prepares for a likely peak of coronavirus cases on Friday.
“The COVID situation has affected a lot of families, especially the refugee families who have lost their jobs and lost their incomes,” said President Muhammad Ramzan. “There are many people who really don’t have enough food or money to go to a grocery store, so this will be a perfect way of sharing a meal with them and helping them out.”
Volunteers stood outside and directed cars around the center’s parking lot, eventually placing boxes of dry food items into their trunks so drivers could safely distance themselves.
“We need to step up as humanity and we need to help our neighbors, and this is the first step toward the right direction,” said Asif Hirani, imam at the Worcester Islamic Center.
The food drive also comes as the Muslim community observes Ramadan, a time when helping the community is highly encouraged.
“They may belong to other faiths, but they are part of our community,” Ramzan said. “They are brothers and sisters to us, and we want to be with them to alleviate their hardship and be with them in any possible way we can.”
According to Ramzan, the food was paid for by the center’s funds as well as through donations from other organizations and individuals on their GoFundMe account. All in all, he said they raised roughly $14,000.
“We wanted to open our doors because we are part of the community and part of the society. We want to give a positive message of peace and tolerance, and be with our community in a time of hardship,” he said.