The group worked diligently. Several stood over a table, lathering peanut butter and jelly onto bread. Others bagged carrots. Still more assembled the items in brown paper bags, throwing in bananas, granola and water.
“Do good work but fast work, friends,” said Nadeen Ibrahim as she hurried to add paper bags to the assembly line and directed late arrivals to hop in quickly because the group was running behind.
From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Ibrahim led more than 100 Muslim volunteers as they made and distributed 2,000 lunches to homeless people across the city. This was the first year Denver joined roughly 20 other cities in the initiative started by Chicago-based nonprofit Pious Projects.
“(Hunger) is an issue that’s very important to our Muslim-American community,” Ibrahim said.
Islam puts an emphasis on feeding the hungry. Prophet Muhammad is believed to have said, “He is not a Muslim who goes to bed satiated while his neighbor goes hungry.”
Instead of a specific mosque or association running the event, Ibrahim said this was a grassroots effort. People saw news of the event on social media, decided to join and word spread among the small, tight-knit Muslim community in Denver.
The group of volunteers ranged from 3-year-olds, who drew crayon smiley faces and stars on the brown bags, to people in their 70s, who made the PB&J sandwiches. Some volunteers had arrived from Syria six months ago. People of other faiths also assisted.