Volunteers sorted through food at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. While it’s a task that could be considered a chore, not only were these volunteers all smiles, they completed the task with an extra challenge.
The group of 130 volunteers is practicing Muslims on a food and drink fast for Ramadan.
“Ramadan is the holy month of Muslims. It’s 30 days,” Adam Soltani with CAIR Oklahoma said.
For the month, Muslims all over the world fast from sun up to sun down.
“You’d think it would be challenging, but I think when you’re fasting and your abstaining from food and drink, you want to find something to keep you busy and what better to keep you busy than doing something good for the community,” Soltani said.
This year Ramadan ends on July 28. The observance is similar to the Christian tradition of Lent.
“Really when you see the community coming along and supporting each other and helping each other, you’re really enjoying yourself and you forget that yes, I’m hungry, I’m deprived of food and water, but I’m helping people who are even more deprived of this,” volunteer Ahmed Abdelmonen said.
Abdelmonen counts the volunteer work as a blessing.
Soltani said they organized the day of service, because Ramadan is also about community.
“I think the fact that we’re doing something also that spiritually makes us feel good, connecting with God, that it kind of fulfils the hunger aspect of things,” he said.
Most of the volunteers were with Islamic youth groups. Leaders say the work also helps build them up.
“It helps them grow up in to an idea of volunteerism at such a young age,” Abdur-Rahman Taleb with Mercy Education Foundation said. “A huge part, I think, of being a leader is volunteering.”
This is the fourth year CAIR has worked with the Food Bank during the holiday.