My Ramadan Food-Pack Experience

Minhaj Hassan tells his food pack story

Back to the blessings

It was another weekend devoted to an Islamic Relief USA pack-out in the same Springfield warehouse. And, it felt just as good as the first time. IRUSA volunteers department had organized another food-pack with all COVID-19 limitations and conditions being considered, successfully.

This time, the event involved tens of volunteers pouring rice, soy, and beans into cellophane bags and then sealing them up. People were stationed at tables pouring the contents through funnels, and then measuring the bags to make sure they don’t have too much in them. 

The format was different from the Ramadan Food Box pack-outs that took place a couple of weeks earlier. Those involved nonperishable foods ready to be stored in cardboard boxes. This one involved actually measuring out and preparing the actual meals. 

Having participated in both, what was clear is that each was a rewarding, fast-paced experience. The energy just naturally kicks in because the goal of packing thousands of meals requires it. And, to know that in both cases, the meals will go to the most vulnerable populations, you couldn’t help but feel driven and keep packing, even when you’re feeling bone tired. 

Food insecurity, as many a headline will tell you, is through the roof. Whatever my brothers and sister in royal blue can do to alleviate that crisis is much welcome. Islamic Relief USA has worked with organizations like Rise Against Hunger to help feed people in Africa. These flavorful and aromatic nourishing meals will help feed people there and locally. 

Personally, it felt good scooping up beans and rice and soy placing them into smaller bins for people to bring back to their tables and then placing those contents into plastic bags. 

By week’s end, the organization’s volunteers will have finished sealing thousands of plastic bags containing the nonperishable meals. Besides Springfield, several volunteers did the same thing in Folsom, Pa., and Naperville, Ill. 

What I experienced during my time, was what hundreds of other volunteers experienced, which brings the question, how powerful would it be to set a another record for volunteer participation after our struggle against COVID-19. We believe it can be done. And we need you to do it.

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