Anad Salem's Muslim faith makes reaching out to those in need a priority for the Carbondale physician.
"Our faith is littered with commandments to feed the hungry, to help the unfortunate, the sick, the orphans," said Salem, a member of Masjid An-Nur mosque. "All fortune belongs to God and comes from God; therefore, we are commanded to share our wealth."
Salem is one of many mosque members who put faith into action facilitating the recent opening of a food pantry at the mosque on the Northeast side. Carbondale has well-established resources for the hungry including the Good Samaritan Food Pantry at the University Baptist Church, but a pantry in the neighborhood gives residents greater access.
"We're not here to compete, we're just offering another outlet of service to the community," said Tariq A. Khaaliq, a retired coal miner who distributes food from the mosque's basement each Friday from 10 a.m. to noon. "Many of these people don't have transportation. Several people come within three or four blocks."
All the work needed to open the pantry was put in by mosque members, including the construction of shelving closets to house the dry goods. And it is that community's generosity that stocks the shelves.
"Some people donate food, others donate time," said member Hasan Aleassa. "Joining the food pantry program gives me a sense of belonging and value. It is good to feel that I contribute something of value to the community in which I live and to which I belong." (MORE)