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Fast With Us So Others May Eat

posted Mar 16, 2012, 3:40 PM by James Stoertz   [ updated Jun 7, 2012, 5:40 PM by Interfaith WS ]

    Forsyth County’s three Muslim worship centers are collaborating with Interfaith Winston-Salem to invite people of all traditions to join them in “Fast With Us So Others May Eat” during Ramadan from mid-July through mid-August.

    The Community Mosque on Waughtown St. and Masjid Al-Mu’minun on Harriet Tubman Dr. in Winston-Salem and the Annoor Islamic Center on Lake Cottage Dr. in Clemmons are participating.

    Many religious and non-religious traditions recognize the value of fasting, intentionally abstaining from food, drink or a specified activity for a set period of time.  Non-Muslims would follow their own traditions of fasting, for one day, a week or for the entire month during “Fast With Us So Others May Eat.”  (This report explains some of the approaches to fasting by different traditions.)

    For Muslims, fasting helps draw closer to God by abandoning bodily pleasures from dawn to sunset daily during the Islamic month of Ramadan. It is a time when they acknowledge that Muhammad received recitations from God that comprise the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam.  During Ramadan, Muslims intensify their practices of worship, personal reformation and charitable giving. 

    In keeping with the added emphasis on helping other people, during “Fast With Us So Others May Eat” the Muslim community encourages other residents to join them in collecting nonperishable foods that will be given to the Second Harvest Food Bank.  Participation is open to individuals, small groups, and religious and non-religious organizations. 

    For those who prefer to make a financial donation instead of collecting food, 100 percent of the funds will support the Food Bank’s Backpack Program, which provides nutritious, kid-friendly foods for school children each weekend during the entire school year.  The cost of supporting one child is approximately $5 a week or $200 for the school year.

    Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan during a holiday called Eid al-Fitr, which means “festival of the breaking of the fast.”  Eid al-Fitr will be observed in mid-August.  Individuals and community groups who participate in “Fast With Us So Others May Eat” may bring their food collections to one of the Muslim worship centers where they are invited to join in the celebration of the breaking of the fast.

    A 2011 study by the Food Research and Action Center ranked Winston-Salem first in the nation for families struggling to provide food for their children, and another study revealed that one in four children in North Carolina under the age of 18 is at risk of hunger.