Ramadan is coming to an end, and for a number of mosques the holy month has meant feeding residents of Queens who are going hungry.
Assemblymember Zohran Mamdani, who represents portions of northwest Queens, said a local initiative has raised nearly $20,000 for local restaurants and food carts, who in turn prepared hot meals for distribution at mosques and mutual aid groups.
“Ramadan is not just a month where Muslims fast,” said Mamdani, who is Muslim and represents Astoria. “It's also a month where Muslims give back and ensure that any needy person can find food at a Muslim institution.”
Over 1,300 meals have been provided, said Mamdani, who launched the effort while campaigning in 2020. Additionally, nearly 400 bags of groceries were distributed.
“It’s been a really beautiful occasion for us to put our belief of solidarity into practice,” said Mamdani.
He added he has been fasting and plans to observe Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan on Monday. The actual day of observance depends on the sighting of the crescent moon and may fall on Sunday or Monday. A 2018 report by Muslims for American Progress shows 768,767 people of the Islamic faith live in New York City.
Food insecurity continues to be a problem both citywide and in Queens, where some food pantries have shut down. The problem surfaced during the onset of the pandemic and has been compounded by rising inflation, leading to higher prices for essentials.
Ramadan is not just a month where Muslims fast. It's also a month where Muslims give back and ensure that any needy person can find food at a Muslim institution.
According to The City, calls to 311 asking for locations where food resources could be obtained doubled in the first quarter of 2022, compared to the same period last year.
The distribution sites for meals included Masjid El-Ber, The Bosnian-Herzegovinian Islamic Center of New York, Shahjalal Masjid (Astoria Islamic Foundation) and Gawsiah Jame Masjid, as well as the Astoria Welfare Society and Astoria Food Pantry.
The effort involved contributions from a number of organizations. The Indian American Muslim Council donated 100 bags of groceries, while the Zakat Foundation donated 100 hot meals.
In addition to Mamdani’s office, financial support came from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, state Senator Jessica Ramos, Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas and Rana Abdelhamid, who is running for Congress in the 12th district, in what currently covers parts of Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn.