With the onset of winter, resources at missions and homeless shelters are always stretched thin. This is particularly true in Detroit, where residents suffer from high rates of unemployment, poverty, and homelessness. To meet these rising demands, many organizations in Detroit provide food via pantries and soup kitchens to residents in need. Recently, a new cooperative was formed to assist with the burgeoning needs. The Islamic Shura Council of Michigan (ISCOM) is providing a food pantry to locals that kicked off on December 6, 2012.
The need in Detroit is great. According to the Detroit Free Press, author Mitch Albom said on his recent WJR-AM radiothon fundraiser for S.A.Y. (Super All Year) Detroit that 20,000 residents sleep on the street each night. This figure doesn't factor in the many people who sleep in shelters or missions in the Metro Detroit area.
The ISCOM food bank is an outreach of the Michigan Muslim Community Council (MMCC), a group that seeks to promote unity between Muslims and non-Muslims. It works to bridge racial, ethnic, and religious differences among Detroiters. MMCC also works to mobilize relief and outreach efforts in the Detroit Muslim community. According to MMCC, ISCOM partnered with Michigan Gleaners Food Bank to start the food resource called the Michigan Food Pantry Program.
ISCOM is collecting money to purchase foods at reduced prices from Gleaners sources. The food is distributed at area Islamic centers and organizations in Metro Detroit. Building Islam in Detroit lists locations and information about Muslim mosques, temples, centers, and groups around the city.
ISCOM says this is not a one-time food giveaway. Food distribution will be ongoing, so people are asked to consider making a monthly donation. ISCOM has another day of giving scheduled on January 3, 2013.
Michigan Muslim Community Council says that money donated to the Michigan Food Bank Program is eligible for zakat. Zakat is sacrificial almsgiving practiced by Muslims.
Grains of Hope is another mission operated by the MMCC. This effort seeks to streamline donations and services. Projects that Grains of Hope supports include Muslim Family Services, Day of Dignity (formerly called Humanitarian Day), and a soup kitchen. Grains of Hope also supports the HUDA (Health Unit on Davison Avenue) Clinic. HUDA Clinic is a Muslim-operated health facility that offers free medical services to anyone in need.
Homeless Shelter Directory maintains a comprehensive list of food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and missions in Detroit. Over 50 Detroit faith groups and community organizations offer services. There are missions from all denominations and faith backgrounds.
A lifelong Michigan native, Marilisa Sachteleben writes about issues and events in her state, particularly in its most pivotal city of Detroit.