High school student emphasizes acts of service during Ramadan – The Oakland Press
It started as an act of kindness during the month of Ramadan 2021. Looking ahead to the present, a Bloomfield Hills High School student is making strides to start a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping those in need in Detroit.
Approaching his senior year of high school, 18-year-old Yusuf Jamaleddin is about to officially start his first nonprofit organization, Muslim Community for Detroit. Just in time for the month-long observance of Ramadan, which began on April 1.
During this period, Muslims around the world fast from dawn to dusk and observe the five pillars of Islamic belief: faith, prayer, almsgiving, fasting and pilgrimage.
During Ramadan last year, Jamaleddin discovered that the Rosa Parks Transit Center on Cass Avenue in Detroit was packed with people in need of a good meal.
“That day we prepared food and brought it to around 50 people in need,” he said. “After that, I started fundraising in the Bloomfield Hills community and redistributed that act of kindness.”
Since then, Jamaleddin has made monthly trips to Hart Plaza and Rosa Parks Transit Center to distribute food, clothing, blankets and even sanitary products.
In partnership with the Muslim Student Association of Bloomfield Hills High School, students purchased the necessary materials and handcrafted 30 fleece blankets which were distributed during one of Jamaleddin’s monthly visits.
Needing someone who could still cook meals, Jamaleddin knew someone at NYC Halal Eats in Troy and approached them for a partnership.
“My friends and I have eaten there a few times, they have really good food. They cook the meals, we collect them and take them from there,” he said. “NYC Halal Eats donated of certain things and gives us a good price, so it’s affordable.”
The Muslim community in Detroit not only operates during the month of Ramadan, Jamaleddin follows his monthly visits to Detroit throughout the year. Sometimes make two trips a month.
Jamaleddin wanted to do something more during the month of Ramadan, so he contacted Dima El-Gamal, board member of the Muslim Unity Center in Bloomfield Township and asked how he could serve families in need. in local mosques.
During the four weeks of Ramadan, Jamaleddin has set a weekly goal of feeding 75 people with an Iftar meal. Iftar is the evening meal during which Muslims break the daily fast after sunset. It is usually a time when family and friends gather in their mosque or home to eat and pray together.
Meals will be packed and ready for families to pick up at their local mosque and take home.
“You can donate to charity online, but it’s not that motivating,” he said. “When you donate in person, there’s a completely different aspect. It’s a great reminder of the bubble we live in and helps us realize the world we live in. When people realize this, it plays a big role in your life.
After graduating, Jamaleddin plans to attend Wayne State University majoring in public health with the goal of becoming a dentist.
Dima El-Gamal, 51, serves as education liaison for the Interfaith Committee’s Muslim Unity Center as well as elected official liaison for the Muslim Unity Center’s Civic Engagement Committee.
Students from across Oakland County participate in the InterFaith Leadership Council program, Religious Diversity Journeys – a program for eighth graders dedicated to teaching about world religions by visiting different places of worship.
Students experience and learn about Muslim beliefs and values. El-Gamal said Ramadan is an anchor for these discussions.
“Muslim children themselves are extremely excited about the month of Ramadan,” she said. “You will find children who don’t have to fast, who want to fast because they feel it is a time of spirituality, a time of family and friends.”
The best way to contact Jamaleddin is via Instagram at MCDetroit_
For more information about the Muslim Unity Center, visit muslimunitycenter.org.