Islamic group marks Ramadan with food distribution to communities in need
ICNA Relief, a national domestic relief and faith-based group, has launched a Ramadan Food Box distribution across its network of more than 50 food pantries in 24 states, reaching more than 24,000 families.
Ramadan, the Islamic holy month during which Muslims worldwide observe daily fasting from dawn to dusk, began Wednesday evening.
Research shows a lack of access to halal options at food pantries, even in cities with significant Muslim populations such as New York City, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and Los Angeles.
Part of the Islamic Circle of North America, ICNA Relief aims to address this gap and raise awareness of food and nutrition insecurity. With the rising cost of groceries nationwide, many families are facing moderate to severe rates of food insecurity, especially with the expiration of pandemic-era Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.
ICNA's Ramadan Food Box distribution will serve low-income families, refugees, and others in need during the holy month. The food boxes will include staple pantry items such as rice, flour, oil, and specialty foods traditionally consumed during Ramadan. The distribution is supported through food and monetary donations from local communities.
"Ramadan is a special time of year for Muslims, encouraging increased self-awareness, righteousness and empathy so we can be more responsive to the needs of our neighbors," said Zahid Hussain, ICNA Relief director of hunger prevention. "Currently, many families are struggling to put food on the table due to record high inflation, and we want to ensure that they have access to the culturally appropriate and spiritually fulfilling foods that they need to open their fasts. None of this is possible without our partners, volunteers and donors, and we are very grateful to have them by our side."
To donate, visit icnarelief.org/product/ramadan-donation/.
TEDxElmhurstUniversity will return Saturday with a theme of "FIRSTS," featuring a diverse group of speakers from Elmhurst University and the larger community discussing a range of inspirational topics, including autism, public art, slang, human consciousness and adulthood.
• Rajee Aerie, an actor, model and product specialist, will talk about "How Love Can Transform Your Setback Into a Superpower."
• Rafael Blanco, a public artist and assistant professor of art at Elmhurst University, will talk about "Public Art as a Public Service."
• Gena Cox, an industrial and organizational psychologist, will talk about "Skirting Career Quicksand: A 'Yes ... And' Strategy."
• Liza Gabrek, a graduate student in the master of public health program at Elmhurst University, will talk about "Second Firsts."
• William Hirstein, a professor of philosophy at Elmhurst University, will talk about "Is Human Consciousness Actually Private?"
• Neeraja Kumar, a high school student, will talk about "Walking the Path of Firsts Toward Adulthood."
• Marvin Malone, creative project manager at NBCUniversal and an MBA candidate at Elmhurst University, will talk about "Speaking to the Crowd."
• Lukas Munoz, an economics and philosophy student at Elmhurst University, will talk about "A Dream Deferred."
• Morgan Ogunleye, an Elmhurst University nursing student, will talk about "The Art of Unlearning."
• Felicia Shakespeare, an educator, author and founder of A Purpose Driven Woman LLC, will talk about "You Are Your Brand: Building From the Inside Out!"
• Sarah Strom Kays, associate professor and chair of the Department of Communication and Media at Elmhurst University, will talk about "Say What? Slang is More Than 'Being Hip.'"
• Angela Williams, a school administrator, learning behavior specialist, and faculty director of Turning Pointe Autism Foundation, will talk about "Fears, Failures and Firsts in Autism."
Talks will begin at 3 p.m. in the Mill Theatre, 190 Prospect Ave., Elmhurst. General admission is $15 with a two-ticket maximum due to limited seating. Tickets are available at elmhurst.edu/tedx. If there is demand, an on-campus livestream option will be available.
Waubonsee Community College is hosting a series of programs for Women's History Month to commemorate the significant contributions women have made to advancing all levels of society.
All the events are free and open to the public.
• Poet Dilruba Ahmed, author of "Bring Now the Angels," will read a selection of poems during a virtual discussion from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. Tuesday via Zoom.
• Three short films highlighting the trials and triumphs of women in history will be shown from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. Tuesday at the Sugar Grove Campus and from 12:30 to 1:15 p.m. Wednesday at the Aurora Downtown Campus.
To register, visit waubonsee.edu/WomensHistoryMonth.
Waubonsee community members also are invited to support the college's Women's Empowerment Hygiene Drive in partnership with Aurora Interfaith Food Pantry. Donate new, unopened women's hygiene items at these drop-off locations: Sugar Grove Campus, Student Center lobby, Collins Hall lobby and Bodie Hall lobby; Aurora Downtown Campus, entrance lobby; Aurora Fox Valley campus, entrance lobby; Plano campus, entrance lobby.
Engaging with refugees
Park Ridge-based Exodus World Service will conduct virtual and in-person cross-cultural training sessions on engaging with refugees in April and May.
The training offers volunteers in-depth learning and activities to broaden their understanding of who refugees are, how they get to the U.S., and what help they receive when they arrive. Participants can learn about the diverse cultures of many refugees arriving and how to navigate cross-cultural communication and friendship.
Sessions will be held on Zoom from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. April 20 and from 9 a.m. to noon May 20.
In-person sessions will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. April 29 and from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. May 24 at Exodus World Service, 780 Busse Highway.
To register, visit exodusworldservice.org/upcoming/.
• Share stories, news and happenings from the suburban mosaic at email@example.com.