I came to the conclusion that only way to solve the hunger crisis is if there are more people involved in solving the problem. We have to engage people, not just feed people.
Zamir Hassan is the founder of Muslims Against Hunger, Faiths Against Hunger, Hunger Van and One World Community Cafe. He actively engages different communities in social action.
Zamir grew up in Pakistan and came to graduate school in America in 1973. Seventeen years later he ended up in a soup kitchen thanks to a school project for his son in New Jersey. His shock at the needs in his community’s backyard caused him to reflect on his Muslim liturgy that says not to go to bed if neighbors are hungry. No longer ignorant about the needs locally, Zamir took action to address the hunger issue.
“49 million people do not know where they are going to get their next meal,” said Zamir. “We are living in the richest country on the planet, why is this happening?”
He started with his congregation and neighborhood, organizing volunteers to go into soup kitchens with food and helping hands. Fulfilling a need became a passion. This passion extended to other congregations. People that wanted to bring solutions to their communities used Zamir’s training kit to get started. Within a couple of years, they were in 20 different cities. Wherever people are interested in starting a program, Zamir helps them.
As the Cabot farmers’ appreciate, every faith calls for each of us to help wherever we see a need. For Muslims, charity is part of their daily worship. And importantly for us, Zamir represents true patriotism, doing what we cannot rely on the government alone to do.
The farmers have asked Zamir to bring his kit and training to the cruise, along with his favorite co-volunteer.