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Fighting hunger - while respecting culture - during Ramadan

Local Minneapolis restaurants East Village Grill and Afro Deli spent the month of Ramadan making, distributing, and delivering free prepared halal meals to area seniors and families.

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan is a period of fasting and spiritual growth observed by more than a billion people around the world. During the month, most Muslims fast every day from dawn to sunset. Due to the holy month’s eating schedule, many folks who rely on food assistance resources have a particularly hard time getting their food needs met.

Abdirahman Kahin, CEO, and owner of Afro Deli-Minneapolis said his restaurant fed about 1,500 people through Minnesota Central Kitchen daily during Ramadan. He recalled one day when they ran out of meals in just 15 minutes.

“There’s a food desert in our community,” he said. “These people sometimes struggle to bring food to their tables. So, these people would really benefit from an extra meal.”

The larger Ramadan meals - breakfast and dinner - are meant for consumption before sunrise and after sundown. Kahin said that the food being served to the fasting elders is the same food they serve to customers in their restaurant.

“We use our platform, our kitchen and our staff, and give to people who need food,” said Kahin. “Because the demand for food is bigger than a few organizations, the community needs to step up and do its part, and that’s what we’re doing - our part.”

The meal distribution areas were identified in partnership with the Minneapolis Public Housing Association and local mosques in St. Paul. Both restaurants also coordinated with volunteers from local mosques to assist with distribution.

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