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Comptroller Lander, Islamic Relief USA, and Hunger Relief Organizations Kick Off Ramadan With ‘Iftar On The Go’ Program To Distribute Free Halal Meals

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Comptroller and hunger relief organizations call for stable and sufficient funding for healthy, fresh, and culturally appropriate meals especially during Ramadan, Passover and Easter.

New York, NY – The Office of NYC Comptroller Brad Lander is kicking off Ramadan with a series of events in partnership with Islamic Relief USA, community-based organizations, elected officials, and hunger relief organizations to distribute nearly 14,000 halal iftar meals to families in need at grab-and-go sites in every borough.

“In a city as rich as NYC, no one should have to go hungry. Yet food insecurity remains a persistent issue across every community in our city, exacerbated by the pandemic’s economic disruptions. I am grateful for the work of Islamic Relief USA and so many relief organizations who are working to ensure families in need this Ramadan don’t go hungry. As we work to secure an equitable recovery for everyone in our city, ensuring access to healthy, fresh and culturally appropriate food must remain a high priority,” said Comptroller Brad Lander. 

The number of people seeking support from food pantries and programs approximately doubled during the pandemic as people lost jobs and income, peaking in May of 2020. Feeding America estimates that more than 1.4 million New Yorkers are food insecure, up from 1 million in 2019. While New York City’s recovery is underway, it remains uneven and prices are rising just as pandemic relief programs are ending. Demand at food pantries across the city is still far higher than it was before the pandemic.

“The month of Ramadan is a time of generosity and reflection. With all of the strife and suffering taking place presently, Muslims around the world have an opportunity, if not an obligation, during this holy month to further increase their spirit of altruism and make sacrifices in order to decrease the plight faced by so many of our most vulnerable populations. Food insecurity, unfortunately, remains a persistent problem, with millions in the United States struggling to get by and provide for their families. Through our partnership with the New York City Comptroller’s Office, we hope to mitigate it by providing hot, nutritious meals while working on solutions to address hunger’s structural causes,” said Sharif Aly, Chief Executive Officer at Islamic Relief USA.  

“As Muslims in New York City and around the world observe Ramadan, a sacred month of fasting and devotion, Food Bank For New York City is today more than ever committed to providing cultural, community, and religious relevant food to those who struggle to put food on the table for themselves and their families. The spirit of empathy and togetherness of Ramadan is reflected in our mission, and we are proud to partner again with NYC Comptroller Brad Lander and Islamic Relief USA to serve our City’s diverse Muslim communities with appropriate fresh food for Iftar meals,” said  Leslie Gordon, President and CEO of Food Bank For New York City. 

“Iftars on the Go is in its second year of an all  inclusive food security program sponsored by the collaborative efforts of the NYC Comptroller’s Office and Islamic Relief USA. Providing healthy nutritional hot halal meals during the holy month of Ramadan is not only essential to our communities but spiritually rewarding for the giver and the receiver. It is an asset and blessing in more ways than one,” said Jamilah LaSalle, Co-Founder of the Bait-ul Jamaat – House of Community. 

“Food insecurity persists throughout many communities in NYC and it is our collective responsibility to create long term solutions that make sure families don’t go hungry. A lack of culturally appropriate emergency food continues to be a problem for some of our most vulnerable community members, meaning survivors of domestic violence, undocumented people, and others don’t have access to food that meets their dietary and cultural needs. Sapna NYC is grateful to be partnering with Comptroller Lander and Islamic Relief USA to bring halal meals to our community in the Bronx, ensuring that during this holy month they can focus on the spiritual and not worry about putting food on the table. These food distributions also allow us to connect with community members to serve them in other ways, be it SNAP applications, COVID vaccines, or mental health counseling,” said Diya Basu-Sen, Executive Director of Sapna NYC. 

“The Gambian Youth Organization is located in the 15th congressional district in the Bronx, which has the highest amount of food insecurity for children. With our years battling against food insecurity, we know there is a need to provide families with nutritional meals, especially in the month of Ramadan where families gather to break their fast. No family should have to go a day without a nutritional meal. We are extremely excited to partner up with Islamic Relief USA and the NYC Comptroller’s office for this year’s Iftar on the Go initiative, which allows us to give back to our community on a greater scale, and continue our fight against food insecurity,” said Salim Drammeh, President of the Gambian Youth Organization. 

“We are so happy to be participating in the Iftar-on-the-Go program for the second year in a row with the NYC Comptroller’s office and Islamic Relief USA. This program acknowledges religious diversity and food insecurity both at once during the month of Ramadan – a wonderful way to bring communities together,” said Lamiya Khandaker, Project Manager at Majlis Ash-Shura: Islamic Leadership Council of New York. 

“I would like to thank NYC Comptroller Brad Lander and Islamic Relief USA for providing the help and support to Muslim New Yorkers during the Holy Month of Ramadan and making “Iftar On The Go” more easily accessible to low-income New Yorkers through partnership with local community-based organizations. We are in the 3rd year of COVID-19 pandemic and thousands of families are still recovering from the hardships and financial challenges. During this unprecedented time of their lives, they must decide how to deal with food insecurities, health challenges and meeting the daily living expenses. By providing them religiously and culturally appropriate food during the holy month of Ramadan, we are working together for more just and equitable New York City for every New Yorker,” said Erum Hanif, Chief Executive Officer at Apna Brooklyn Community Center.

“The Holy month of Ramadan is around the corner. Food insecurity has been exponentially growing with COVID-19 Pandemic.  We are very grateful for Iftar on the Go offered by Islamic Relief USA and the NYC City Comptroller Brad Lander. The community needs it especially in this particular momentAllah bless us with more to come!” said Djeneba Toure-Diaby, CEO at Zeina Lorraine Inc. Community Food Pantry.

Iftar on the Go halal meal distribution locations and dates are available below:

Queens

Partners: Islamic Relief USA & Majlis Ash-Shura Islamic Leadership Council of New York
Location: 35-13 23rd Avenue, Astoria, Queens, NY 11105

Dates:

  • Thursday, April 07 at 6:30 PM
  • Thursday, April 14 at 6:30 PM
  • Thursday, April 21 at 6:30 PM
  • Thursday, April 28 at 6:30 PM

Manhattan

Partners:  Islamic Relief USA & Zeina Lorraine Inc. Community Food Pantry
Location: 203 W 133 Street, New York, NY 10030

Dates:

  • Thursday, April 07 at 11:00 AM
  • Thursday, April 14 at 11:00 AM
  • Thursday, April 21 at 11:00 AM
  • Thursday, April 28 at 11:00 AM

Partners: Islamic Relief USA & Food Bank for NYC
Location: Community Kitchen and Food Pantry, 252 West 116th Street. New York, NY 10026

Dates:

  • Thursday, April 07 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
  • Thursday, April 14 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
  • Thursday, April 21 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
  • Thursday, April 28 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Brooklyn

Partners: Islamic Relief USA & Majlis Ash-Shura Islamic Leadership Council of New York
Location:  722 Church Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11218

Dates:

  • Monday, April 04 at 7:33 PM
  • Monday, April 11 at 7:41 PM
  • Monday, April 18 at 7:48 PM
  • Monday, April 25 at 7:55 PM

Partners: Islamic Relief USA & APNA Brooklyn Community Center
Location:  225 Neptune Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11235

Dates:

  • Wednesday, April 06 at 2:00 PM
  • Wednesday, April 13 at 2:00 PM
  • Wednesday, April 20 at 2:00 PM
  • Wednesday, April 27 at 2:00 PM

Staten Island

Partners: Islamic Relief USA & Bait-ul Jammat – House of Community
Location: 192 Corson Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10314

Dates:

  • Wednesday, April 06 at 10:00 AM
  • Wednesday, April 13 at 10:00 AM
  • Wednesday, April 20 at 10:00 AM
  • Wednesday, April 27 at 10:00 AM

Bronx

Partners: Islamic Relief USA & SAPNA NYC
Location:  2348 Waterbury Ave, 1st Floor, Bronx, NY 10462

Dates:

  • Friday, April 08 at 3:00 PM
  • Friday, April 15 at 3:00 PM
  • Friday, April 22 at 3:00 PM
  • Friday, April 29 at 3:00 PM

Partners: Islamic Relief USA & Gambian Youth Organization
Location:  2252 Webster Avenue, Bronx, NY 10457

Dates:

  • Thursday, April 07 at 7:00 PM
  • Thursday, April 14 at 7:00 PM
  • Thursday, April 21 at 7:00 PM
  • Thursday, April 28 at 7:00 PM

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