Press Shia Agency – Muslim volunteers from across the area earned a round of applause and even a few “amens” from the homeless huddled inside a Dallas shelter Saturday.

Press Shia Agency – Muslim volunteers from across the area earned a round of applause and even a few "amens" from the homeless huddled inside a Dallas shelter Saturday.

 

"We're Muslim, but we care about everyone," Urooj Waheed said at the Austin Street Shelter. "We're here to help you guys and let you know you're not alone." 

 

Waheed and his wife, Sobia Waheed, were among about 125 volunteers in Allen — children, parents and grandparents — who packed survival kits that contained bottled water, socks, deodorant, toothpaste, a toothbrush, a washcloth and a blanket.

 

Ma'ruf, a nonprofit designed to help local refugees, organized the donation drive at four sites: Allen, Valley Ranch, Colleyville and Fort Worth. 

 

About 200 volunteers in all assembled the donations, which amounted to about $10,000.

 

Sobia Ali, the main coordinator for the event, first started outreach to the homeless out of her home about nine years ago. In the first year, 15 women bagged about 200 lunches. 

 

Over the holy month of Ramadan, in July, they provided 450 sandwiches to a shelter. This year, she partnered with Mar'uf to expand their reach.

 

"As a Muslim it's my responsibility," Ali said. "We're taught to help anyone in need, Muslim or not."

 

She tells her three kids that they have been blessed and it is their job to help those being tested.

 

Saher Sayed, 15, said her faith informs her desire to help those outside the Muslim community.

 

She recalls an encounter at the shelter a year ago, when a man who received a donation started to cry and said he never learned about Islam but would visit a mosque.

 

But there's no agenda behind the gesture, said president of Ma'ruf, Faiez Usman.

 

"There's no such thing as Muslim issues," Usman said.  There are issues. Every issue needs its attention."

 

Families delivered the donations to The Bridge and the Austin Street Shelter by 3:30 p.m.

 

Rodney Jackson, who has been homeless for five years, was one of about a dozen men who waited outside the Austin Street Shelter, huddled in jackets.

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