Four Ways We Ended Our 25th Year

In 2018, here at Islamic Relief USA we were all systems go for celebrating our 25th anniversary—that’s 25 years of service and hope. Check out four of the biggest ways we celebrated the end of this year below.

#1: 500K Meals Packed…

Islamic Relief USA was founded 25 years ago by young volunteers ready and willing to take on any possible task that fell from the sky. People like IRUSA President Anwar Khan can attest to the drive of IRUSA’s earliest volunteer cohort. They knew what had to be done, even though in some cases the “how” wasn’t readily available. But what makes IRUSA’s volunteers special is that they figure out the how, each and every time.

National Volunteer Manager Said Durrah called together IRUSA’s volunteer army for uncharted waters in the last five months of the year for the 500k Meal Pack. Through the meal pack effort, in partnership with Rise Against Hunger, volunteers assembled over 500,000 Meals for children suffering from food insecurity in around the world. Volunteers made it out in rain, sleet, and snow to lend supportive hand in the effort. IRUSA was blessed to have an all-out push in states like New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Texas, and California.

#2: Billboards…and a Bus!

If you happened to be in New York this past year and also happened to pass the Lincoln Tunnel then you may have seen an Islamic Relief USA billboard above the entrance. This year, we reminded everyone we could how long Islamic Relief USA has be working together for a better world domestically and internationally.

The billboard in Times Square didn’t hurt either.

Besides, how many 25th year anniversaries do you get? And while we love billboards, there was something extra we wanted to do for for all the people who opened their hearts for our humanitarian work. We wanted anybody who could, to see how far their compassion has taken us.

With that in mind we took the IRUSA Bus to as many places as possible. Onboard is an interactive experience that not only shows a timeline of IRUSA’s birth, but places the viewer in an upfront, intimate experience about how some of our most impactful projects take place. So please, if you see us riding by, give us a honk and a wave for a better world!

#3: Bosnia Remembered…

When crisis strikes, unlikely heroes and heroines emerge. Ordinary people become charged by the moment.

And 25 years ago, everyday people in Bosnia were stuck in the middle of a conflict that claimed the lives of fathers, sons, daughters, and mother far too often. It was then that IRUSA found its calling and the ordinary people we call founding members raised awareness and aid for the families in Bosnia.

To bring to light the emotions that were so deeply felt by the disaster taking place we revisited the region. We documented what now stands as place of grief and triumph. Bosnia will always be in our hearts.

This video was created to bring new audiences closer to the level of dignity the people of Bosnia still have till this day, to recognize what tragedy indifference can bring, and to remind everyone in the IRUSA family that courage to act isn’t solely for the courageous, but for ordinary people who want to heal the world of injustice.

#4: 25th Galas…Coast to Coast!

A wise person once said, “Give people roses while they can still smell them.” At IRUSA’s 25th Anniversary Galas, one in Washington, DC, near our current headquarters and one in Anaheim, CA, near the region of our founding, we did just that. At the galas, we celebrated our 25 year history in so many ways. One of the ways we are most proud of is when we gave awards that honored dynamic servants of humanity that we’ve had the opportunity to build relationships with over the years. 

IRUSA gave awards to individuals we consider family, such as Rami Nashashibi of IMAN-Central in Chicago, long-standing volunteer Rukiye Abdul-Mutakallim, and Westside High School Principal, Akbar Cook, just to name a few. All of the awardees are working hard to continue writing legacies that benefit humanity. We extended our sincerest appreciation to all awardees for the trials they’ve overcome and the odds they’ve helped thousands to beat everyday. 

Insha’Allah, here’s to another 25 years!

Tariq is part of the Communications & External Relations team at Islamic Relief USA.

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