The Islamic Center of Central Missouri celebrated its 30th anniversary Sunday by assembling a group of volunteers and packaging 30,000 meals to feed the hungry in several countries.
The center partnered with the Stop Hunger Now project and gathered volunteers to host an event called “Spread Peace; Feed Hungry.”
Mohamed Elsanousi, director of communications and community outreach for the Islamic Society of North America, said Columbia is the first city to host the event.
“It is a great testament to the active work that this Muslim community does," Elsanousi said. "They have dynamic leaders."
Center leaders were at the organization’s convention in Washington, D.C., and decided to host an event when they learned the purpose is to inspire Muslim communities, he added.
The Islamic Center of Central Missouri, which has served the community since 1983, is active in the Columbia area, Elsanousi said.
The Zakat Foundation, an international relief and development organization, joined the effort because its members said they knew the effect it would have in the countries receiving the food, said Chief Operations Officer Safaa Zarzour. He said the food packaged at the event will be sent to schools in the different countries.
“I think they have a very sound strategy in that when kids go to school hungry, they’re less likely to pay attention, to learn, and if they don’t do that, they don’t stay in school,” Zarzour said. “If they don’t stay in school, they’re not able to hold down good jobs, and it’s a whole domino effect.”
Zarzour said the food packaged at this event will be sent mainly to countries in Africa and the Middle East.