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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Islamic Relief USA Hosts Interfaith Anti-Hunger Meeting

Islamic Relief USA offices in Alexandria, Virginia hosted a three-day meeting this week of the “Inter-faith Anti-Hungers Directors,” a yearly gathering of 10-15 major American faiths groups to address anti-hunger relief and development efforts from an interfaith perspective. Ambassador and former congressman Tony Hall, from the Alliance to End Hunger, gave the keynote address, saying that “Islamic Relief is a great partner of the Inter-faith Anti-Hunger Directors group, and we are very proud to have them with us.”

Among the various topics covered at the meeting were a discussion of the Obama administration’s Global Food Security Initiative, the development of strategies to utilize social media and how to mobilize youth to push forth anti-hunger programs, and a discussion of the World Bank and United Nation FAO’s report, “Agriculture at a Crossroads.” The group also met with United States Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan and took a tour of the USDA.

Islamic Relief USA was honored to host the meeting this year, saying it was a chance to “share difficulties, ideas, and dreams as peers without agendas or project pressures.” In the past, the meetings have yielded collaborative responses to the world hunger problem, like 2005’s “Convocation Against Hunger” held in the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and the dissemination of educational materials about poverty and hunger issues called “Hunger No More.”

The group, which began in the 1980s initially focused on the Protestant denomination’s anti-hunger relief efforts through sharing ideas about fund raising and educational efforts. But recently the group moved in an interfaith direction and includes key Jewish and Islamic partners, including Islamic Relief USA. Other faith groups regularly attending the meeting include the American Baptists, United Methodist Committee on Relief, Mazon (Jewish Hunger Appeal), Evangelical Lutherans, Missouri Synod Lutherans, Christian Reformed Church, Reformed Church in America, Presbyterian Church in the USA, Cooperative Baptists, United Church of Christ, Church of the Brethren, and others.

Please visit Islamic Relief USA to learn about our work and donate online.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Islamic Relief USA's Volunteers 'Backbone' of Organization

It’s National Volunteer Week, and organizations across the country are celebrating the hard work done by volunteers in a variety of fields. Developed by the Points of Light Institute, the week commemorates the one-year anniversary of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act and the Volunteer Generation Fund. The theme this year, “Celebrating People in Action,” focuses on honoring volunteers who “take action and solve significant problems in their community. Here at Islamic Relief USA, 3,000 to 5,000 individuals volunteer in the Virginia head office and around the world. Nazia A. Hossain, IR USA’s national volunteer coordinator, said the relief work done by IR USA would be impossible without the support of its dedicated volunteers.

“Many of our volunteers are in the field supporting our fundraising tours and tabling at conventions,” Hossain said. Virtual volunteers also handle some of the behind the scenes work at annual campaigns like Day of Dignity. Hossain said the organization has a volunteer grants coordinator, communications writers, and volunteers who helm donation tables at fundraising events and large conferences like ISNA and ICNA.

Islamic Relief USA’s volunteer network has grown exponentially over the past five years, mainly from word of mouth and social networking sites like Facebook. Hossain said the organization’s volunteers are the “backbone of IR USA. Our own CEO was a volunteer for over 10 years before he joined IR USA. Volunteers are the ones that go out and spread awareness of our causes, and maybe they do not work for IR USA, but they live IR USA. [They] deserve special recognition during National Volunteers week. It’s a time for us to recognize that the volunteers are really the vital links that help us help those who need help most.”

For more information on how to volunteer and get involved with Islamic Relief USA, click here. You can also find us on Facebook.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Islamic Relief USA: Message from Hanan Turk

Join Egyptian actress Hanan Turk at Islamic Relief USA's Support a Family, Save a Society” fundraising dinner -- a benefit for Palestinian orphans and families on Friday, April 23rd in Dearborn, Mich. Check out Ms. Turk's message to her fans below.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Death Toll Rises in China Earthquake

Tibetan monks carry the body of a victim who died during an earthquake in Yushu county

The death toll from a 6.9-magnitude earthquake on Wednesday (April 14th) in China’s Yushu, Qinghai province has risen to nearly 1,200, according to Chinese media. Nearly 48 hours after the devastating earthquake struck, initially killing at least 617 people and injuring more than 10,000, Chinese relief workers are racing against the clock to pull survivors from the rubble. China’s director general of the Disaster Relief Department of the Ministry of Civil Affairs Zou Ming told that nearly 15,000 homes have been destroyed around Yushu province and more than 100,000 people have fled the area.

Islamic Relief USA, along with its international partners, continues to monitor the situation to see how best it can assist in relief efforts.

In 2008, Islamic Relief USA provided food, water, shelter, and medical care to those affected by the destructive 7.8-magnitude earthquake in the Sichuan province of China. To learn more, click here. To donate to Islamic Relief and help in relief efforts around the world, click here.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

China Earthquake

A 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck the Tibetan region of China's Qinghai province on Wednesday, killing at least 617 people and injuring more than 10,000. As roads into the town were blocked by a landslide and temperatures dropped below freezing, tens of thousands of people were without shelter and the death toll is expected to rise.

Islamic Relief USA, along with its international partners, are monitoring the situation to assess how best it can assist in relief efforts.

In 2008, Islamic Relief USA provided food, water, shelter and medical care to those affected by the devastating Sichuan 7.8-magnitude earthquake in China. To learn more, click here.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Rep. Ellison visits Gaza

Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) visited the Gaza Strip earlier this month, where he met with Islamic Relief Palestine staff and beneficiaries.

He also visited multiple projects, including agricultural wells that Islamic Relief Palestine set up in the Gaza Strip to help struggling Palestinian farmers.

Click here to read more about Islamic Relief's projects in Palestine.

Support Islamic Relief's projects in Palestine. Donate today.