OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – They had another plan even as late as the first of March to fill a whole shipping container bound for needy families in India.
Friends Ilesh Patel and Dr. Riaz Sirajuddin put out the call and formed the India Association of Oklahoma Charity.
Then a crisis hit much closer to home.
Unloading a minivan full of donated groceries, Patel states, “This will help a long way for the families who are struggling with their daily wages.”
The shipping container idea in the dock, they turned their attention to the needy here, which took them, interestingly enough, to the Islamic Society of Oklahoma City Mercy Pantry and to a director there better known for her nickname, ‘Sister Chuck’.
“Obviously, during COVID-19, this is crisis,” she says while filling food boxes.
Deborah Boneta favors her Chuck Taylor basketball shoes even more these days because of the huge increase in traffic at this mosque-run food pantry.
She and her volunteers started seeing an increase in traffic three weeks ago.
That traffic looked different too.
“You see, people in fancy cars and no cars, bus riders, walkers, everyone is coming here now to get food,” Sister Chuck said.
The India Association Charity pledged close to $700 a week in groceries, more if donations increase.
These friends don’t take any administrative costs off the top.
Dr. Sirajuddin says, “That shows you how good the Oklahoma City community really is and how we get together, irrespective of race, creed or religion.”
Right now, Sister Chuck and her volunteers are able to give away 200 boxes of food twice a week, adding their light to the sum of light.
“This is about humanitarians coming together,” she says. “And nobody does that better than Oklahomans.”
“I am proud to be an Oklahoman,” echoes Sirajuddin.
If you are interested in donating to the Non-Profit India Association of Oklahoma Charity, email IAOKCHARITY@gmail.com.
For more information on the Islamic Society of Oklahoma City Mercy Pantry, go to http://www.isgoc.com/site/mercy-mission-building/ or https://www.facebook.com/Mercy-Food-Pantry-233401583702011/.
The Mercy Food Pantry gave away 200 food boxes on Thursday and will give another 200 on Sunday.