Hunger Van at Arab American Family Services – Bringing communities together.

The founder of Hunger Van, Zamir Hassan and the founders of Arab American Family Services (AAFS), Itedal Shalabi and Nareman Taha; formed a friendship during their 7th annual Domestic Violence and Cancer awareness walk. Post the walk Zamir visited AAFS and joined hands to create awareness and get the community mobilized towards the goal of Hunger Van: “Drive against Hunger”10669989_710660462348761_6522954709082907210_n

On December 5th, 2014, AAFS hosted the Hunger Van and had an amazing turn out of volunteers. Ten hard working and amazing volunteers gathered around the conference room table at AAFS and even though it was their only time off from a hectic schedule, they chose to volunteer. To see more volunteers in action, please click here.IMG_3981

Within an hour and a half 150 meals inclusive of the ‘Honey-B’ sandwiches and a healthy spiced salad was prepared to not only provide a delicious meal but also one with a bit of zing. Zamir shared his secret salad recipe and the many moms present there were eager to make the same at home. Z’s were shaped using honey on whole wheat bread representing ‘Zero Hunger’, cinnamon sprinkled, bananas sliced and peanut butter generously applied to provide the needy with a scrumptious meal.

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AAFS on a regular basis works towards empowering those in need and this was one of the many initiatives they took towards building a stronger community in Bridgeview, Illinois. Hunger Van loved the dedication put in by each and every volunteer, their efforts and their enthusiasm to do good through out this process.

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Zamir also got a chance to introduce himself and his project to the staff at AAFS and was thrilled to learn that not only would they love to be a part of his efforts but also would love to get their kids involved. Wafa Zegar one of the staff at AAFS mentioned how her daughter likes to feed the homeless on her birthday, which then sparked an interesting conversation about how Hunger Van has previously hosted ‘Birthday Parties with a Good Deed’ and how kids have a remarkable impact on society when they themselves wish to spread generosity.

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Please click on the link to see more pictures of Volunteers in action.

Thank you to all the staff, volunteers and the beautiful founders of AAFS for hosting the Hunger Van and being a part of a successful drive.

About Arab American Family Services: AAFS provides service to over 30 communities in the South Suburban Chicagoland area. Their programs focus on the areas of safety net case management as well as domestic violence prevention and intervention, elderly and disability assistance, cultural diversity training, mental health assistance, immigration services, community health and education programs and youth programs. AAFS is a non-political, non-religious organization that focuses on building respect and understanding between Arab-Americans and the mainstream-American culture. For more information about AAFS please click here.

IMG_3895About HUNGER VAN The Hunger Van was born in 2011 because Muslims Against Hunger founder Zamir Hassan, a practicing Muslim and resident of Bedminster, New Jersey decided that if hungry people such as the ones congregating around parks and train stations, could not come to the food, the food would come to them in vans, conveniently packaged and ready to eat. The cost of producing one hot meal is $6.07 and $4.85 for cold ones; and meals as well as events are donation-based. Sponsors are encouraged to raise funds for the feeding event. All of the food is vegan and can last for a long period of time without spoiling. for more information about Hunger Van project click here

IMG_4085The author of this blog, Falak Zaffer Ghatala, is a resident of Chicago, IL and volunteers for multiple non-profits (including the Hunger Van) to assist the needy in Chicago. She has a Masters in Chemical Biology but has changed careers to serve humanity. She currently works at AAFS as an Adult Education Instructor and spends her free time studying religion and running a campaign called ‘The Do Good Campaign’. Her passion lies in doing good and truly believes that: “Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.” Lucius Annaeus Seneca.

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