(SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS, 12/23/10) -- The Council on American Islamic Relations-San Antonio Youth (CAIR-SA Youth) yesterday donated blankets, socks and food items worth $4,000 to 200 homeless people in that city during the organization's "Serve the Homeless Day."
Some 20 Muslim youth, ages 14 to 21, participated in the distribution of items that were funded through bake sales, garage sales, door-to-door and phone solicitations, donation boxes, and direct contributions. There are an estimated 6,000 homeless people in San Antonio.
"We thank all those in the community who offered such tremendous support for this humanitarian effort," said CAIR-SA President Sarwat Husain. "It was an invaluable experience for our youth to go through the whole process of raising funds, advertising and planning the event from start to finish. These are American Muslim children from middle to high schools -- our future leaders -- who learned what faith teaches us about serving the community they live in."
She noted that CAIR-SA has been serving the homeless for the past eight years.
Husain cited Islamic traditions mandating serving those in need. She quoted the Prophet Muhammad, who said: "O people! Spread greetings of peace, feed (the poor and needy), behave kindly to your relatives, offer prayer when others are asleep, and (thus) enter Paradise in peace."
The Quran, Islam's revealed text, states: "(The righteous) feed the poor, the orphan and the captive for the love of God, saying: 'We feed you for the sake of God alone; we seek from you neither reward nor thanks.'" (76:8-9)
"We are so fortunate that God has given us so much without asking Him, so now we have to give back some of it to the less fortunate," said one Muslim youth who took part in the fundraising and distribution to the homeless.
Comments from recipients included:
"This is the first blanket this winter I received. I and my two children were so cold and we were praying to God to get us some blankets."
"The ready-to-eat packed food items you gave us, I can keep and eat for a few days without worrying about them getting spoiled."
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.