'Day of Dignity' Expands to Help More People in More Cities
Volunteers across the country are teaming with Islamic Relief USA in the annual 'Day of Dignity' effort to serve thousands of homeless and underserved people in 19 cities.
After eight years of organizing the event only during the month of Ramadan, Islamic Relief USA lengthened the 'Day of Dignity' effort to ten weekends and expanded to 19 cities. The event began August 15 and will run until December 6.
Providing beneficiaries with food, clothing, blankets, medical care, first aid, and other social services, Islamic Relief USA staff and volunteers will offer assistance to all who attend, regardless of their backgrounds.
"These people treated me with dignity, and that's all I can ask for," Sandra Carpenter, one of the 20,000 people who benefitted from last year's 'Day of Dignity,' told the Seattle Times. She said she had been sleeping on a mat in a homeless shelter for over a month, so the clothing and healthcare she received from Islamic Relief USA were very helpful.
"I may be down on my luck, but I am still a human being. It's sort of nice to be treated like one," she said.
In the Islamic tradition, Ramadan is the month of spirituality, self-reflection, service, and compassion, but is perhaps most known for its daylong fasts where Muslims abstain from food, water and marital relations from dawn till dusk. Many of the volunteers who will be helping Islamic Relief USA are observant Muslims who fast the month of Ramadan, which began on August 22.
"Ramadan helps us feel the hunger and thirst that 'Day of Dignity' beneficiaries feel," Islamic Relief USA Domestic Programs Coordinator Karim Amin said. "It's a feeling we can barely deal with for one month, but they have to feel it year-round. That's why it's so important we help them this Ramadan."
With a team of staff, local coordinators and volunteers dedicated to the cause, Amin is optimistic about this year's event.
"Thanks to popular support, we were able to expand and we hope to help more people than ever," he added. Last year, Islamic Relief USA held the 'Day of Dignity' in 18 cities, helping about 20,000 people.
The 2009 'Day of Dignity' will take place on the following dates, in these cities:
- Aug. 15 Fort Thompson, SD
- Aug. 22 Chicago, IL
- Aug. 29 Baltimore, MD
- Aug. 30 Philadelphia, PA
- Sept. 5 Washington, D.C.; Dallas, TX; Newark, NJ
- Sept. 6 Atlanta, GA
- Sept. 12 Detroit, MI; Kalamazoo, MI
- Sept. 13 Boston, MA
- Sept. 19 Portland, OR
- Sept. 26 Elizabeth, NJ
- Sept. 27 Irvington, NJ
- Oct. 3 Brooklyn, NY
- Oct. 4 Manhattan, NY
- Nov. 21 Seattle, WA
- Dec. 5 Phoenix, AZ
- Dec. 6 Las Vegas, NV
For more information please contact Domestic Programs Coordinator, Karim Amin at karim@IslamicReliefUSA.org.
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