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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Day of Dignity in Philadelphia: A Time for Unity

The young veiled woman handed a Day of Dignity flyer to the homeless man standing in front of her. He looked down at the flyer and noticed the event location. “I used to live right by there,” he said. “I lived on the church steps at 21st and Chestnut.” Monika Nagpal was devastated to hear this, “because he referred to his home as a set of steps,” she said. Nagpal tirelessly served as coordinator of Islamic Relief USA’s Day of Dignity in Philadelphia this past Sunday.

Outside the gated doors of First Unitarian Church, in the heart of the city, hundreds of homeless and impoverished people filed into the church pews and stood in a line running outside and around the block to receive bags, ponchos, hygiene items, blankets, clothing, toiletries, medical, dental and vision screenings and food, all served by over 100 volunteers with warm smiles and kind greetings. Many volunteers were devout Muslims who were also fasting amid the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Philadelphia’s Day of Dignity was a joint collaboration between Islamic Relief USA, the Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Fixing Philly, United Muslim Foundation, Philadelphia Jews for a Just Peace, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and First Unitarian Church.

Shirleen, an elderly aid beneficiary, was seated in one of the church’s pews just before aid distribution began. She talked about people of different faiths coming together to help out the needy in their community: “It’s a good thing,” said Shirleen. “We’re all united as one.”

Read the rest of this blog post here.

-- Muneeza Tahir
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