Forty families have been receiving food boxes or “Ramadan Boxes” containing staple food items amid the coronavirus pandemic. Each family receives a box that has key items like rice, olive oil, grains, and dates. They also receive chicken, bread, and fresh produce.
Boxes to the families are distributed every Thursday by Wafa House and Islamic Relief USA. Recipients are mostly vulnerable Muslim families in Passaic and Bergen counties. Paterson has the largest Muslim community in Passaic County.
“Part of the population we serve are single mothers with small children, the undocumented, seniors living on a limited income and refugees from different parts of the world with limited to no income,” said Wijdan Abdallah, executive director for Wafa House. “Due to different barriers such as language, transportation and child care they might not know where to turn to for food. We made sure we apply for and receive the food aid grant to help these families and their children, and to prevent starvation and malnutrition.”
Each family also gets gift cards ranging from $50 to $300 depending on family size and financial need.
Abdallah’s organization is distributing 280 $50 gift cards. Volunteers for her organization (pictured) assemble the boxes wearing protective gears such as masks, gloves while practicing social distancing. Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month, began at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic. It ends next week.
Wafa House received funding from Islamic Relief USA to purchase the food and gift cards for the Ramadan boxes.
Over the past 16 years, Wafa House has been assisting victims of domestic violence. The group has served over 6,000 mostly Muslim women in northern New Jersey. It provides counselling, job training, self-care workshops, food and rent assistance, and legal services.
The nonprofit, hit hard by the pandemic, is hosting an online fundraiser to sustain its efforts. Anyone interested in donating to the group can click here.