All across the USA, the members of the Lajna Imaillah, the women’s auxiliary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (AMC), are reaching out to help those in need. It is the central teaching of Islam that supporting the poor and the less-fortunate goes hand in hand with worship of God. With 68 chapters of the Lajna Imaillah located in 29 states in the USA, the members of AMC have been active in community service for several decades. The recent call of the President to serve humanity, not only reaffirms our mission but renews the commitment of our volunteers to continue to serve those who are in need.
The community outreach program of the AMC includes providing nonperishable food to food banks, cooking and providing meals at homeless shelters, mentoring and tutoring youth and adults, offering free medical help, working with abused women, donating school supplies, and providing monetary donations to various charitable organizations. More than 1,000 women volunteer in different areas to serve 2,000 to 3,000 needy citizens each month. The AMC has organized weekend classes for children 7-15 years-old. These classes are not just religious in nature; they are also used to train the children to become better citizens of America and participate in serving their communities.
As a member of AMC, I have been directly involved in community outreach programs. For the past six years, my husband and I have been regular volunteers at the Gaithersburg Help food pantry in Gaithersburg, MD. It is indeed heart warming to know that just by donating two hours of our time each month we can make a difference in the lives of others. My 9 year-old daughter has been a pantry worker since she was 3 years-old. I wanted her to learn and appreciate the blessings of God and teach her to be compassionate.
The Lajna Imaillah will launch its “Feed the Hungry” project across the country on August 22, the first day of the Muslim month of Ramadan (the month of fasting), and will end this special initiative on September 19. We will work in soup kitchens, organize food drives for food banks, and provide bagged lunches to homeless shelters. During this time, we will not only be responding to the President’s call for service, but we will also be following the teachings of the Qur’an: “O ye who believe! Spend of the good things that you have earned, and of what We produce for you from the earth.” (2:268). I cannot think of a better way to express our concern and compassion than by observing the fast and feeling the pain and hunger of those who are less fortunate.