New York City announced, on Thursday, plans to serve half a million free halal meals during the month of Ramadan as a part of a meal distribution program.
The news coming from the city’s mayor, Bill de Blasio laid out plans to reach vulnerable people struggling to secure food during the Coronavirus pandemic. “There will be 400,000 Halal meals available at 32 specific Department of Education sites” said the mayor during a press briefing.
The 32 specific sites, which are part of 435 locations made available to tackle this issue, will be focused where there are large Muslim communities.
De Blasio emphasized as well the significance the holy month has, especially during the current health crisis saying, “one of Ramadan’s most noble callings is to feed the hungry. It’s a crucial part of how the holiday is celebrated to remember to be there for those in need and that is now harder than ever”.
In addition to the 32 sites, another hundred thousand free halal meals will be distributed through partnerships with community-based organizations, food pantry, and soup kitchens.
The mayor also acknowledged the role mosques play in feeding the hungry throughout the year and especially in Ramadan. Mosques have often been a place that those who were hungry, those who were poor would know for certain they could have a meal to break their fast. This is no longer possible as all worship places of all faiths have been closed to limit large gatherings in response to COVID-19, therefore, there will be no community-wide meals (Iftar) or Taraweeh prayers .
The novel virus ravaged the state of New York which is now considered the epicenter of the disease in the United States. According to the NYC department of health, over 140 thousand people have tested positive for Coronavirus and more than 11 thousand people have lost their lives, as of the 23rd of April.
#Ramadan is a month to reflect, to build discipline and to become closer to God. As our city continues to confront the COVID-19 crisis, every New Yorker can learn from such a profound act of faith. Ramadan Mubarak to all of our neighbors beginning their fast. pic.twitter.com/9zwayRJOFK