Local charity provides thousands of free meals during final days of Ramadan

A Manchester-based charity provided more than 8,000 free meals across the city during the final ten days of Ramadan 2024. 

Islamic Society of Britain (ISB) Manchester collaborated with international charity Action for Humanity as part of the ISB annual ‘Feed the Homeless’ campaign. 

Now in its third year, the campaign has supplied more than 16,500 meals to people in need since 2021. 

Dr Rebecca Elyas volunteers across several organisations in the city and co-ordinated the Feed the Homeless campaign, alongside personally cooking and delivering meals. 

She said: “We’ve had so many volunteers who have been keen to take part this time. 

“People seem to just associate Ramadan with fasting from dawn till dusk but it’s not all about the food or the drink aspect. 

“It’s also about spiritual nourishment and the whole point of Ramadan is to feel what the hungry feel. 

“We get a nice meal at the end of the day but the people we support don’t have that guarantee.”

Between 30 March and 9 April 2024, volunteers worked around the clock to provide support by packing, delivering and labelling meals alongside putting together care packages containing gloves, drinks and personal hygiene products. 

They also catered to those with specific dietary requirements and allergies. 

Donations were provided by local businesses, restaurants, individuals and national supermarkets such as Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s.

Dr Rebecca Elyas

Rebecca, who lives in Manchester, continues: “I’ve been involved for more than five years now. 

“I started out after I lost my mum and it was something that I really wanted to do because my mother used to do this type of charity work as well. 

“It helps me fill that void in my heart and the people we help are absolutely overwhelmed with the kindness.

“Sometimes they haven’t eaten in two or three days but for me, it’s not just about handing out a hot meal and a drink. 

“It’s about showing them that there are people who care about them and I feel like as a society, we do have to help these individuals.

“I think everybody should get involved, whether it’s Ramadan or not. 

Mad Dogs Homeless Project in Manchester has been supporting the ‘Feed the Homeless’ campaign since it first launched in 2021.  

Founder Jim Hutton said: “Each year we have seen numbers increase and, although it’s lovely to see such kindness, it’s also a sad indictment of society that something like this is needed.”

Although donations escalated during Ramadan, charities such as IBS, Homeless Aid UK, Organic Soul, Coffee 4 Craig and Mad Dogs Homeless Project provide support across Greater Manchester and beyond all year round. 

Billa Ahmed, founder of Homeless Aid UK in Bolton, said: “The amazing donations of food from the Islamic Society of Britain has allowed us to help hundreds of people this Ramadan.

“We are seeing a massive increase in the number of people having to use our soup kitchens and needing help on our homeless outreaches. 

“Jazakallah Khayr and thank you to all those who donated for their support.”

You can find out more about ISB Manchester and the Feed the Homeless campaign on their Instagram page.

Header image: volunteers Tawqeer, Aleeza and Harris on their way to deliver to Two Brews soup kitchen (provided)

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