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5th Annual Partnership Gala Shines Bright

Islamic Relief USA Celebrates Strong Relationships with Fellow Agencies at Annual Partnership Tribute

Food insecurity at the forefront

Islamic Relief USA’s work in reducing food insecurity, providing aid in the wake of natural disasters, and helping resettle refugees were among the accomplishments made possible by strong partnerships with fellow nonprofit organizations and government agencies, all of which were highlighted in the organization’s virtual 5th Annual Partnership Tribute on Wednesday, Dec 8. 

In the past year, these pacts have helped address hunger in Ethiopia, fires that broke out in Turkey, and the manifold humanitarian crisis following the pullout of U.S. troops and change in government in Afghanistan. The suffering of the Afghan population, both in the country and the evacuees, was expressed masterfully during the presentation by poet Marjan Naderi.

Gender Justice at the forefront

In addition to its work in core areas, Islamic Relief USA seeks to expand its role in promoting gender justice next year through an advocacy campaign designed to call attention to women’s rights and mitigate disparities that still exist. 

Sharif Aly, chief executive officer of Islamic Relief USA, thanked the “amazing community of supporters who’ve helped IRUSA fulfill various projects in 2021, adding that it’s “a testament to the level of need that exists.” 

He said the partnership event served as a way to “celebrate the trusted partnerships” and recognize the “critical work that we’ve done in the humanitarian sphere.” 

Regarding evacuees from Afghanistan, Aly said he’s hopeful some degree of normalcy will return as they seek a better life for themselves and their families here in the United States. Clothes, English language-assistance programs, hygiene kits, prayer rugs, toiletries, and other items, have been provided by IRUSA and partner organizations. The organization’s Operations and Marketing team, among others, have frequently driven to military bases to distribute these goods. They were packaged at the organization’s warehouses in northern Virginia.

“I’m so proud of all the effort you’ve been a part of,” he said. “I ask you to continue on.” 

Neighborhood Partnerships

One of those partners is Marcus Coleman, director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. 

“I’m so grateful for the work of Islamic Relief USA,” he said in his video feed.

He commended the organization for providing volunteers at FEMA’s Covid-19 vaccine sites, such as the one in Houston, and spreading factual information about the effectiveness of inoculations to ward off severe cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. 

 “There’s been no better partner, no better collaborator, than Islamic Relief USA,” the director said.

He said the organization is an example of “encouraging models of partnership to meet common needs.” Coleman highlighted IRUSA’s work in helping survivors of natural disasters, such as Hurricane Matthew in North Carolina, and its commitment to long-term recovery.  

Coleman said he’s optimistic about the work they can do in the future in addressing the threats posed by climate change and encouraging stronger interfaith dialogue. 

“We are thankful for you. I am proud of you.”

Food for the Community  

Another partner, Djeneba Toure of Zeina Lorraine Inc., credited the organization’s support for the successful growth of her New York City food pantry. She received an award for her work in mitigating food insecurity, which saw a dramatic increase since the start of the pandemic in early 2020. Her pantry provides nutritious halal meals to city residents. 

“I never imagined it would grow as fast as it did,” she said. “We are inspired and energized by this award to keep serving all (of New York City’s) five boroughs. Thank you for your continued support.” 

Imam Islam Al Mosad of Houston, also one of our recognized disaster chaplains, said the partnership help address one of Islami’s basic teachings of helping people who are most in need, such as wodows and organs. These actions, he said, are the equivalent to the blessings one receives as if the person was perpetually praying or fasting. 

“This is a complete and comprehensive approach to spiritual cleansing within oneself,” he said. 

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