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Engaging Our Community – Recognition for The Halal Food Bank – SeekersPoint Melbourne

‘Community engagement’ two words that come to mind when the ‘Halal Food Bank’ is mentioned. An initiative of the Ansaar Project, the Halal Food Bank aims to improve the wellbeing of individuals and families doing it tough. Sadly, there are a number of Muslims – individuals and families, affected by economic uncertainties. As a result, food shortages occur at home.
The Halal Food Bank aims to serve these members of the community as an expression of the Prophetic example; providing them with nutritionally balanced food packs to cater for their needs. We aim to spread this example by engaging the wider community to donate non-perishable food items to the project. Through their generosity, we are able to pack hundreds of boxes across Australia each month.
Coordination of such efforts on a sustained basis require dedicated people. And while we continue to thank everyone who continues to support the Halal Food Bank, we’d like to recognise our very own Raqeeba for her selfless efforts.
At the heart of the Halal Food Bank Melbourne is Sister Raqeeba. She began her role as project coordinator some two years ago with a long list of questions and an eagerness to refine processes and ensure this initiative makes a real difference in our community. It is this enthusiasm and drive that has seen the Halal Food Bank in Melbourne grow to what it is today, packing more boxes than ever and reaching out to even more communities.
In recognition and respect of the long and hard hours Raqeeba has spent, she has been awarded the 2014 Community Service Category and Overall Winner of the Father Bob Maguire Foundation, Angels of the Streets Awards.
While the ceremony may have gone unnoticed by many on a lazy Sunday afternoon, those who know what is behind those neatly packaged boxes would agree that Raqeeba is a deserved winner. The endless hours driving around Melbourne to pick up donations, call-outs to volunteers, building outreach and initiatives to serve even more, accounting, planning… and the list goes on.
It is the hard work of invaluable and selfless volunteers such as Raqeeba that our community is afforded grow into a vibrant and engaging culture. On behalf of SeekersPoint Melbourne, we would like to say: ‘Thank you Aunty Raqeeba.’ You are a real asset to the team and Melbourne, and we pray for your success in both worlds.
Written by Jourdan Sungkar – SeekersPoint Melbourne

[Volunteer Profile] Halal Food Bank, SeekersPoint Perth – Faisal Baluch

photo-1-33737_185x185Packing Day co- ordinator, Shameema Kolia met up with Faisal Baluch to talk about his involvement with the Halal Food Bank Project. Here’s what Faisal had to say.

1. How did you hear about the project?
I heard about the project through word of mouth, through friends.

2. Tell us a little bit more about yourself, your background.
I was born and raised in Dubai – United Arab Emirates (UAE) and having lived in Kenya for 10 years, I’ve witnessed both prosperity in UAE and poverty in rural Kenya. While living in Kenya, I occasionally visited small rural communities with a small group of volunteers, I saw life in a raw and poverty-stricken form. However, through every crack of hardship and despair, there was hope, love and friendship. My experience of Kenya is limited but my experience of the Kenyan spirit is much greater, it makes a person very humble.

I’ve been living in Australia for over 13 years and I now call it my home, far away from home. It saddens me to hear of people struggling to obtain basic necessities in a country with a prosperous and healthy economy. When I first heard of this, it reminded me of rural Kenya and made me feel I ought to share the spirit of giving in our own backyard/community.

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3. How long have you been involved with the Halal Food Bank project and how have you found the experience?
I have been involved as a volunteer for approximately 4 months. It has been a really rewarding and hunbling experience.

4. Do you have any advice for people wanting to get involved in community work?
If you can contribute, either financially or physically, please consider making some time to come here and join in, you can help to make a difference and believe me it will make a difference to YOU. Food for thought…

Life is never a rosy ride…just remember that tomorrow it could be YOU!

Ask yourself this question…..Do people intentionally plan to go through hardships, struggles, starvation and become poverty stricken?

I am thankful for my opportunity to be involved in Halal Food Bank Project, and hope that others know that even a single person can ignite the light of change within someone else, and that the light can turn into a fire within the community. Our generation needs to reach out to others; we can be the change we want to see in the world.

4. That is great advice. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to be today. Pleasae share with us one quirky thing about yourself?
I don’t like roller coasters :)

Halal Food Bank is a great way to give back to the community whilst having fun and meeting new people. Come down to Rivervale Mosque, the 4th Sunday of every month and help out. Give Shameema a call on 0404 520 851 to let her know you’ll be lending a hand.

Original article located here.