Members of the Tulsa Muslim community have formed a nonprofit organization to feed Tulsa’s homeless people.
Muslims4Mercy is being organized by Ravi Sharma, general manager of the Renaissance Hotel, who moved to Tulsa recently from Seattle.
Beginning this fall, the organization plans to deliver food weekly to 100 homeless people after Friday afternoon prayers. A van for that purpose has already been purchased.
According to a news release about the organization, Sharma was part of a similar organization in Seattle and was inspired to do something like it in Tulsa.
Working with a team of Muslim professional people, he raised money for the van and obtained commitments from local restaurants to participate.
Aliye Shimi, on the board of the new organization, said she was “very excited about helping out some of the Tulsans most vulnerable, including veterans.”
“With all the negativity often seen on the news, we are really excited about Tulsans seeing Muslims giving back,” she said.
Shimi said Muslims4Mercy will host an iftar dinner at 7 p.m. Thursday at Fellowship Congregational Church, 2900 S. Harvard Ave., to explain the new program to civic and religious leaders. The dinner also will include a discussion about homelessness, race and other social issues facing Americans.
Anyone interested in attending should call her at 918-595-1417 by Wednesday.
She said the new organization will begin serving the needy in September, to work the kinks out of the program, and will hold a formal launch in October.
In addition to meals, they will provide hygiene kits, haircuts, blankets, scarves and other items.
Next year, she said, Muslims4Mercy plans to develop a kitchen that will provide food for the program, as well as employment for women who are victims of domestic violence and others in need.
Later, she said, they hope to develop a for-profit restaurant to help the women who work there.
Other board members — Sean Moore, Mohideen Khader, Masood Kasim and Asnul Bahar — are establishing connections with other Muslim organizations, including the Islamic Society of Tulsa, the Surayya Anne Foundation, the Oklahoma Chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations and Peace Academy, a Muslim school.
“We have to work together to improve our city and help others,” Shimi said.