Feed the Hungry Program

Help prepare and serve lunch to the residents of Downtown Eastside

Special Requests

Posted by muslimjewish on December 26, 2009

We are continuously looking at ways of doing more for the people in the DTES and now have a special request from the First United Church – where our feeds take place.

Over the next several months they have requested that we collect and donate the following:

Socks and Toiletries (Shampoos, Conditioners, Soaps, Deodorants, Toothbrushes, Toothpaste, Mouthwash)

In the past we have collected toiletries from our vacations when staying in hotels, or simply picked up a little extra when shopping and donated it. This is also a good opportunity for our younger members to organize such a collection through their school. There are many options so please do consider this wherever possible.

Simply collect and bring in the items on the day of the feed or contact the steering committee and we can arrange collection. The items will NOT be handed out on the day of the feed but passed on to the Mission for use as needed.

Thanks for your ongoing support!

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Thank you’s – Sunday, February 18th, 2007

Posted by muslimjewish on February 19, 2007

Dear Friends,

I wanted to take a minute to thank everyone who came out today to help with the Feed the Hungry event. In the case that my forgetful brain might not remember some of your individual names, I will refrain from individual thank you’s at this time. Do know that without all of your hard work, dedication and love, this project would not be as successful as it is. A special thank you to the new volunteers for coming and lending a hand, I hope that the experience was a positive one for all of you and that you come back next month.

On another note, there will be a planning meeting graciously hosted by our brother Nafees, next Sunday February 25th from 12:30-2:00 PM.  Your input, feedback and ideas are very much appreciated, so please do try to come and join us in our future visioning for this important project.



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success….at last!

Posted by muslimjewish on February 21, 2006

Just wanted to give a shout out to all those who attended this morning’s feed the hungry program. I remember when I first attended the event a year ago as a newbie to van, there were maybe 2/3 muslims showing up (at times I was the only one). the numbers have steadily risen and for the past couple times there have been 20 plus – that’s more Muslims than Jews+Christians! Contrary to what the main organizers believe, I don’t deserve all the credit and i believe in giving credit where credit is due. So thx to the medias like bcmuslims.com and local muslim newspapers firstly for being there and 2ndly for bringing in all these helpers.

Secondly, I just wanted to re-iterate the importance of persistency in communication and organizing in the grassroots level. I was told, a year ago, that various media outlets were indeed notified of this event but with no response everyone gave up. It was then that i finally got the names/addresses of the contacts and started typing. The end result isn’t just renewed participation in this single event, but (through discussions we had this morning) the general consensus that when young, educated, dedicated muslims are given the chance to not just talk the talk but walk the walk, they come through like crazy.

I know we have some excellent brs/srs in this city who have the mind, drive and energy to do many things. Online communication is a very powerful tool; however it’s only effective if we’re willing to roll up our sleeves and started doing stuff together. So hopefully we’ll start doing stuff together.

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On ‘Eid al-Adha

Posted by muslimjewish on January 10, 2006

Below is a short blurb I wrote for Eid, which was distributed among the Jewish community here in Vancouver and the Humanity Check organization.

To my Muslim friends – Eid Mubarak and may Allah (Most High) bless each and every one of us. Please don’t forget to pray for the poor and oppressed throughout the world, whatever their race, colour or religion may be.



Thanks for your interest in Eid al Adha – I’ll try to add a personal anectode in addition to what has already been mentioned.

Here in the West, other than the spiritual significance and difference of this Eid compared to Eid al Fitr (celebrated at the end of Ramadan), there’s very little in terms of outward practices/rituals that sets the two Muslim holidays apart. Much like Eid al Fitr, Muslims here attend the early morning prayers at the mosque, spend the day celebrating with family and friends and the only exception is for those fortunate enough to make the
pilgrimage to Mecca and fulifill one of the 5 pillars of Islam.

However, one significant aspect of this Eid is the sacrifice of an animal (could be sheep, goat, cow) an act which is considered either mandatory or highly recommended for each Muslim family. Due to logistics/time restraints, Muslims here have traditionally sent money to poorer countries to get it done on their behalf. The meat from the sacrifice is then distributed to the needy, some of whom taste meat only this one time of the year. However, technically it is required (and done that way in Muslim countries) that part of it be given to the poor, some kept for own family and the the rest distributed to friends, relatives and neighbors. It is the latter that stands out for me as I was growing up in a Muslim society. I remember myself and my father taking the meat from the sacrifice and delivering a portion to each and every friend, neighbor and relative of ours, during a course of 3 days (this Eid is celebrated for 3 days, as opposed to only 1 on Eid al Fitr). This was a great way of creating a bond with my neighbors and distant relatives, some of whom I’d probably meet only once a year. So just as the Hajj celebrates the coming together of Muslims around the entire world, this Eid brings people together in each community.

In recent years, Muslims have become more aware of performing the sacrifice here, so that younger generations don’t miss out on these important aspects of Eid al Adha. This year, a Muslim family is donating the meat towards our Feed the Hungry project next Sunday. And to reiterate David’s suggestion, it would be a great opportunity to meet with our neighbors, friends and the hungry in our community. What better way to celebrate the Abrahamic roots of our faiths than to commemorate the ultimate sacrifice of Abraham himself, during the next few days of Eid al Adha.

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Feed the Hungry Project

Posted by muslimjewish on December 25, 2005

Here’s the article I wrote for a local newspaper: (Alameen, December 24th, 2005)

Taking a stroll in Downtown Eastside, it’s no wonder this community is the poorest in all of Canada. Vancouver’s inner-city has always faced difficult issues such as the epidemic levels of substance misuse and community health. In fact the situation is so bad that the local health authority declared a public health emergency in the Downtown Eastside. It’s no wonder then, that the community is letting the world know about the tragic situation and its desperate need to seek positive and pragmatic solutions to the problem.

Our Prophet, peace and blessings of God upon him, has mentioned, “God will continue to assist the servant, as long as the servant is assisting his brother.” From this we can understand that Divine Aid and Succor will accrue to our community as long as we are providing the same to fellow members of the human family. In today’s socio-political environment that can be understood as meaningful ways in which a private citizen is best involved in the life of his or her city.

Historically, it was the involvement of Muslims in the life of the cities, many of which were established before the arrival of Islam, which defined them. As Muslims, our involvement in the life of our cities should leave a mark on them. Surely we have much to offer in that regard. It is not without purpose that God has placed us in Vancouver – now is the time for our constructive involvement in answering the desperate call for help from Downtown Eastside.

Rudimentary efforts to do just that have already begun. For over a year now, the Muslim-Jewish Feed the Hungry project sets out monthly to prepare lunches for one hundred plus homeless men and women of the inner-city. The project addresses another worthy goal: bringing together Muslims and Jews whose history has been fraught with misgiving. Particularly because both faiths are at war with each other in the Middle East, the animosity overseas is felt by Jews and Muslims here in Canada. But we have a lot more in common than uncommon, since we come from a shared experience. The neutral space and the worthiness of the Feed the Hungry project is a symbol that people of various faiths can work together collectively. In turn, this allows us to develop a healthier relationship with God. A healthier relationship with God will lead to a healthier relationship with our fellow humans. That enhanced relationship will in turn lead to a change in our collective condition.

I urge our brothers and sisters of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to get involved. The next Feed the Hungry lunch is scheduled for Sunday, January 15th at the First United Church, located at 320 East Hastings Street. For more information or to sign up as a volunteer, please contact me at nafeesyvr@hotmail.com.

Thank you,

Nafees Shams,
Coordinator, Feed the Hungry Program

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