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Charity

COVID-19 Pandemic Relief: Half A Million Pounds Of Potatoes

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Charity

COVID-19 Pandemic Relief: Half A Million Pounds Of Potatoes

“I also gave 10 bags to my neighbors in our townhome complex,” said Ebru Awad, one of our representatives in California. “Wow what a week that was. I am so humbled and proud at the same time to be part of these great deeds in a time of crisis to help others.”

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“I also gave 10 bags to my neighbors in our townhome complex,” said Ebru Awad, one of our representatives in California. “Wow what a week that was. I am so humbled and proud at the same time to be part of these great deeds in a time of crisis to help others.”

Fry ‘em. Bake ‘em. Put ‘em in a stew. We’re talking about potatoes — 500,000 pounds of them.

Food banks and depositories need to be able to support their communities, even as COVID-19 restrictions ease (however much or little). Places of worship and community centers need to do the same. Zakat Foundation of America saw the need and saw that farmers have been forced to destroy crops even as the coronavirus raised fears of food shortages. 

From the humanitarian perspective — from which we always seek to look — the solution was clear and simple: Provide the extra resources to those who need it most, helping both the hungry and the farmer. Win-win, or maybe … Winner winner, (500,000 pounds of) potato dinner. 

Zakat Foundation has already distributed about half a million pounds of potatoes in Illinois, California, Virginia, Michigan, Missouri, and North Carolina. In addition, we have been distributing in California, partnering with actor, comedian, director, and producer Omar Regan (known for his work on Rush Hour 2, Internet Dating, and American Sharia, among other films).

In California, where Regan helped with the potato distribution, we gave out 44,000 pounds of potatoes, half of which went to the Orange County Food Bank to be redistributed to the Orange County community’s needy. The other half went to other organizations that requested help, including Access California and Anaheim Saddleback Church.

Mosques with food kitchens received shares to reach their communities as well. These include Long Beach Sharif Mosque, Anaheim Al-Ansar Mosque, Madina Islamic Center in Norwalk, as well as 7,000 pounds to Sahaba Initiative Food Pantry in San Bernardino and 9,000 pounds to Corona Norco Mosque. There are more potato distributions coming, including a couple thousand pounds to Riverside Pomona Day Labor Center. Each of these entities will individually distribute our potatoes to families during their COVID-19 food drive.

“I also gave 10 bags to my neighbors in our townhome complex,” said Ebru Awad, one of our representatives in California. “Wow what a week that was. I am so humbled and proud at the same time to be part of these great deeds in a time of crisis to help others.”

Many areas in the United States’ Midwest region contain food deserts. The closest food source is a fast-food chain or corner store. The foods offered in these sources are filled with preservatives that the Food and Drug Administration has yet to ban despite correlated health consequences. Dried, processed, and often canned foods that have nutritious elements often don’t have enough nutrition in them. Fresh fruits and vegetables: unavailable. 

The Illinois Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights reported that “investigating the actions federal agencies undertake to improve access to healthy, nutritious foods in neighborhoods of color is a mandate under this Executive Order [12898],” which was issued in February 1994. The executive order directs federal agencies, such as the FDA, “to the greatest extent practicable and permitted by law,” to “make achieving environmental justice part of its mission by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations in the United States.”  

Now, 26 years later, restrictions have gotten stricter for the better, but access to healthy foods is still limited. 

So in Chicago alone, we spread about 3,000 bags, 15 pounds each, of potatoes, in addition to 44,000 pounds that went as far north as Waukegan, Illinois, and as far south as South Barrington, Illinois. Zakat Foundation also distributed onions, milk, and other staples. 

The half-a-million pounds of potatoes, along with onions, milk, and other food are part of just one wave of produce distribution we completed in the United States. Zakat Foundation of America is also on the ground in Minnesota, hand-delivering more than 13 tons of fresh produce June 2 in Minneapolis to those directly affected by the loss of George Floyd — who the police murdered just over a week prior on Memorial Day — and the protests that led to boarded-up shops. 

To learn more about the Zakat Foundation of America, click here.

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