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Sen. Sharif Street
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Philabundance, Sharif Street, kick off second year of Ramadan food drive

The Driving Away Hunger During Ramadan will run from April 2 to May 2, and will provide meals to Muslims and non-Muslims across Philadelphia.

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The holiday known as Ramadan, which always falls on the ninth month of the 12-month Islamic calendar, is a sacred time of fasting, introspection, self-improvement, and enhanced devotion to prayer for Muslims all over the world.

During the month, Muslims abstain from eating from sunrise to sunset, and those that are unable to fast are encouraged to help feed others in need.

Philabundance — a nonprofit food bank that serves the Philadelphia and Delaware Valley region of Pennsylvania — is working with State Sen. Sharif Street for the second year in a row to provide 200 meals to families each night of Ramadan.

The 2022 Driving Away Hunger During Ramadan program will run from April 2 to May 2, and the meals will be made by the Philabundance Community Kitchen. 

Community members can pick up their meals at a different location over the 30 days, including housing developments, recreation centers, medical facilities, community and cultural centers, and more. 

The program is sponsored and supported by Keystone First, Philadelphia Ramadan & Eid Fund, Aetna, Dedicated Senior Medical Center, Jeff Brown’s ShopRite, The Islamic Relief Fund, and Philadelphia Technical Training Institute. 

“During the month of Ramadan, we are encouraged not only to abstain from eating during the daylight, but also to make sure that others have the opportunity to eat when they need to,” Street said at a press conference on Wednesday, March 23. 

“Traditionally speaking, at the breaking of fast, called Iftars, anyone and everyone is welcome,” he said. 

In keeping with this tradition, the free meals will be available for all community members, Muslim or non-Muslim. 

Philadelphia City Commissioner Omar Sabir is also contributing to the effort. At the press conference, Sabir pointed out that so many Philly residents struggle with food insecurity and typically cannot afford to have three meals a day. 

According to Sabir, this number of residents hovers around 200,000, and even more people are not able to eat every night. 

“They’re not necessarily in poverty, but they’re right above the poverty line. So they don’t eat every night, they don’t eat the type of meals that you deserve,” Sabir said.

Loree Jones, Chief Executive Officer of Philabundance, said that the organization is prioritizing nutrition in the meals it is providing. 

“People traditionally at food banks don’t always do that, we’re highlighting providing nutritious food. The second element of that is providing culturally appropriate food,” Jones said. 

Next year, Sen. Street said he has hopes of expanding the program, ideally moving from 200 meals a day to 1,000. 

A full list of dates and locations for the meal distributions can be found on Senator Street’s website. Participants can also learn more by calling (215) 227-6161.

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