At a time of acute need, local food banks and soup kitchens say the tradition of Muslims donating meat from sheep or lambs sacrificed for the holy day Eid al-Adha -- the Feast of Sacrifice -- is particularly welcome this year.
Muslims in Metro Detroit this year collected nearly four times the amount of meat they did three years ago, when the program began. Distribution begins at 10 a.m. today from Gleaners Food Bank.
"There will be a lot of Muslims benefiting from this donated meat as well as a lot of non-Muslims," Dawud Walid of the Council on American Islamic Relations.
"What really increased the donations is that we ran out of meat last year before we met the demand that is out there."
In the first year of the program, spearheaded by the Islamic Shura Council of Michigan, the meat from 167 sheep or lambs was donated, Walid said. Last year, the number was 263. This year, Walid said, the meat comes from 625 of the animals.
For Gleaners, and for operations around the city that feed the poor of all faiths and no faiths, like the soup kitchen at the Muslim Center on Woodrow Wilson in Detroit, the timing of the donation could not be more beneficial. Charities working with the hungry in Metro Detroit are reporting historic shortages of food.