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Pakistani Student Association at the University of New Jersey hosted ‘Meals for Hope’

Meals of hope
3 minutes read

According to a survey of Rutgers Against Hunger in 2012, around 1,151,890 people in New Jersey live in food-insecure homes. People did not have enough food to fulfill their appetite. To make this situation a little better and to help the deserving people, a Pakistani student association started a new and different project of Muslims Against Hunger.

According to the project of Muslims Against Hunger, a volunteer named Zamir Hassan thought of a new idea and sought to alleviate the hunger in the Garden State New Jersey by starting a Hunger Van.

“Meals for Hope,” which is hosted by the Pakistani Student Association (PSA) at the University of New Jersey has attracted more than 60 volunteers to the International Lounge of the Busch Student Center on Monday night to create meals for hope for the deserving people. The Alpha Phi Omega (APO) fraternity and Omega Phi Alpha (OPA) sorority brought different craft supplies for these volunteers to create cards in order to accompany the meals.

Pakistani Student Association (PSA), has done this project with the help of a Greek organization who brought Hassan and his Hunger Van of Meals for Hope to Rutgers and the packed meals will later be distributed to the homeless residents of Newark.

Do you know: In New Jersey, the food insecurity rate is at 13%, with 1,141,890 people being food insecure, according to Feeding America's 2012 Food Insecurity and Food Costs in the US report. (Source: End Hunger in NJ)

This organization basically wanted to portray Pakistan in a positive way and to highlight the charitable side of Pakistani culture. Salah Shaik, who is the community chair of PSA and a School of Arts and Sciences senior said that he wanted to represent Pakistan in a good way and to show people how generous Pakistanis are, as opposed to the extravagance of cultural celebrations and performances.

Salah Shaik announced the intentions of the meals for hope event at the start of the night of the service and thanked all the volunteers for their time. Later he introduced the group to Hassan, who is the founder and the president of The Hunger Van. The outward and quiet behavior of Hassan did not prevent his message from being heard. He gathered the crowd of volunteers and questioned them what hunger really means and after a while, a few hands were raised and people gave their answers each interpreting his own meaning of the word Hunger.

And then Hassan revealed his own definition of what hunger or being hungry actually is. He said that:

Hunger is not knowing where your next meal will come from.

He then told all of his volunteers that they are fortunate enough to be the one working for this cause and then he directed the group to pack meals for the less fortunate ones.

The students were divided into three main groups where they worked on making different stuff including peanut butter and honey sandwiches, dried fruit, bags of sunflower seeds along with bananas and cookies. Volunteers also made cards and crafts at a separate table.

Other students who could not attend the meals for hope event, Pakistani Student Association (PSA) is also accepting donations here. All of the collected donations will be given to the Muslims Against Hunger project.

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