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Dallas-Fort Worth Ismaili Muslim community preps 100,000 meals for Harvey victims

Sunday, 2017, September 10
Carrollton Mayor Falconer speaks at I-CERV Day of Service organized by the Ismaili Muslim community. (Pervez Jindani/Aga Khan Co

CARROLLTON — Fourteen-year-old Sarah Ibrahim had never before seen the type of destruction that Harvey caused in Houston.
But once the Dallas youth saw it, she felt inspired to do something to help.
On Sunday, she got her chance. Sarah joined hundreds of others from North Texas' Ismaili Muslim community who put together 100,000 meals destined for those affected by the devastating storm.

"This is just really different because nothing like this has happened in my life," Sarah said. "It's good to be apart of it and be able to be an impact to families that have been in Harvey."
Not long into her volunteer shift Sunday, her table full of friends had already packed three boxes, each with 48 meals.
"That's just our main goal right now, to get as many boxes and meals done," Sarah said.
The inescapable rhythm of "Happy" by Pharrell Williams roared over speakers as the volunteers of all ages at the Ismaili Jamatkhana and Center in Carrollton measured, scraped and packaged ingredients to make the meals during the I-CERV Day of Service.

Members of the Ismaili Muslim community and other volunteers, in partnership with Feeding Children Everywhere, pack 100,000 healthy meals Sunday at Ismaili Jamatkhana and Center in Carrollton. The meals will be delivered to victims of Hurricane Harvey. (Ashley Landis/Staff Photographer)
The Harvey relief effort is a partnership with the Ismaili Muslim community through the Aga Khan Council for the Central United States and Feeding Children Everywhere. They set out to prepare 100,000 red lentil jambalaya meals in seven hours.
The  nutritionist-designed meals will be collected by North Texas Food Bank, Metrocrest Services, 6 Stones and other organizations that will then distribute them to people affected by Hurricane Harvey, as well as other Texans in need of food.
Each meal, when blended and boiled, is designed to sustain one person for a full day. It includes rice from Louisiana, lentils from Montana and salt from the Himalayan mountains in Pakistan.

Brownies from the Ismaili Muslim community and other volunteers decorate boxes for 100,000 healthy meals that will be delivered to those in need of food. (Ashley Landis/Staff Photographer)

Gowri Sharma, 50, arrived at the center about noon with friends and family.
Using funnels and measuring cups, Sharma and the others donned hairnets and gloves and crowded around a table three to fill bags. 
"We haven't forgotten our families and friends in Houston," said Sharma, who has been part of other Harvey donation collections. "There's a need out there; it's going to last a while."
By the end of the third shift, more than 300 volunteers had packaged more than 60,000 meals, according to Samina Hooda, communications coordinator for the Aga Khan Council for the Central United States.

Shama Sadruddin, 24, has been the planning the I-CERV (Ismaili Community Engaged in Responsible Volunteering) Day of Service since February.
The project manager worked with five other volunteers to create the food drive, which they originally organized as a way to aid North Texans in need of food.

In North Texas, one in four children is food insecure and one in six people is food insecure, according to the North Texas Food Bank.
But when Harvey and its flooding hit Houston, "it just seemed obvious" to redirect the food, Sadruddin said.
Now, most of the food will go to shelters and to people affected by the storm.
"It has been extremely exhausting but beyond rewarding just seeing how the days come together today," Sadruddin says.
Meredith Jones, manager of Individual Giving at the North Texas Food Bank, said the partnership with the Ismaili community "just makes sense."

The North Texas Food Bank will distribute food packaged Sunday to some of its partner agencies. (File photo/Jae S. Lee)
"All of their values and ideals and how they get excited about community involvement is right in line with what our mission is: to provide nutritious food to everyone who needs it in North Texas," Jones said.
The North Texas Food Bank will distribute the food packaged on Sunday to some of its 250 partnering agencies.
Mayor Kevin Falconer lauded the efforts that, he said, could feed "almost the entire population of Carrollton."
"We sometimes get caught up in thinking there's a lot of prosperity," he said. "One of the things when you're in government, especially local government, you do realize that even though we have a very prosperous area, there is still a great need."

Carrollton Mayor Falconer speaks at I-CERV Day of Service organized by the Ismaili Muslim community. (Pervez Jindani/Aga Khan Council)

Throughout the day Rachel Wilson rallied  and pushed the volunteers to pack more, and faster.

When their energy waned, Wilson's voice boomed from the front of the room as she cheered them on. 
Even though she admits to drinking plenty of coffee, Wilson said her enthusiasm comes from the volunteers who "give me the energy to do projects like this."

"When what you're doing is so good, there's just no way to be tired or complacent in this type of environment because everyone is so excited to serve," Wilson said.

When the fourth shift of volunteers poured into the room about 2 p.m., Wilson right away started encouraging them and revving them up.  

"I will be the first person to tell you guys," Wilson announced into the mic, "You look good in those hairnets."

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