This Muslim-Run Volunteer Project Helps Feed L.A.'s Hungry and Homeless
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2017 AT 7:20 A.M. BY CLARISSA WEI
In 2009, a group of Muslim-American friends decided to make peanut butter sandwiches and distribute them on Skid Row. “It was something we felt was needed in the community,” Zia Qureshi says. “Friends would come, then volunteers who heard of us through social media, and before we knew it, we got a nonprofit status.”
Qureshi is the founder and president of the Halal Project, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is entirely volunteer-run and -operated. The group coordinates food distribution events in downtown Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley and, over the last eight years, has served thousands of people on Skid Row. It serves an estimated average of 250 to 500 volunteer-prepared halal meals at every event.
The word halal refers to any item or action that is permissible to use in accordance to Islamic law. In regards to food, it means an absence of pork and that the meat is slaughtered in a specific way, as prescribed by the Koran.
Many restaurants have acted as sponsors, providing inexpensive supplies.
“For the food distribution, meat is the only thing we’re strict about,” Qureshi says. “Everything else is OK.” The sheer diversity of food options in Los Angeles makes this an easy feat. Halal butchers and grocery stores are plentiful in Southern California. In fact, many of them have acted as sponsors; Altayebat Market in Anaheim, for one, provided roast beef at cost.
The project is run by a board of volunteers who all juggle full-time jobs. While most of the board is of Muslim faith, Qureshi stresses that the organization is all-inclusive and that its meals are simply an option for halal-abiding folks on Skid Row who need it.
“We are not religion-based. We are community-based,” Humayun Siddiqui, one of the board members of the Halal Project, says. “We do not preach. No one has to listen to anything.”
Halal Project coordinates food distribution events in downtown Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.
Student groups from local universities are an active part of Halal Project's volunteer base. Most of the volunteers and donations are acquired through word-of-mouth and social media.
"We had this one woman make teriyaki chicken for 350 people," Siddiqui says. "A librarian came once and just started handing out books. People loved it."
The main goal of the events is to give back to the community; no one inquires about the religious background of the homeless.
“Every event, we do notice one brother or sister from the Muslim faith,” Qureshi says. “In fact, the very first person in line at our first event happened to be Muslim and offered to give a prayer.”
The organization also directly assists people within the Muslim community in Los Angeles with grocery shopping or utility bills.
“Help your neighbors,” Qureshi says, referencing a key teaching of Islam. “Life is bigger than buying a bigger TV or car.”
In a time where the Muslim community is reeling from President Donald Trump’s recent policies, both Qureshi and Siddiqui say they've only seen more good in people. Siddiqui, who is from Pakistan, is especially optimistic. He notes he has seen more support from Angelenos in the recent months — not less.
“Yes [Trump’s policies] has negative implications, but I see it as a blessing,” Siddiqui says. “People have been more open. They will come up to us and ask us if there’s anything we need. I feel lucky to be here in California.”
While religion does not provide a role in who is served and who serves, Qureshi credits Allah for the success of the project.
He tells stories of going to the grocery store to shop for the events and having people randomly hand him money. His mom teaches kids how to read the Koran in her home; they started a donation box and raised more than $200 from spare change. The van and the truck the group uses were donated to the project.
“I’m telling you, the big guy provides,” Qureshi says, pointing up to the sky.
Yaqeen institute is a fairly recent project set up by Shaykh Omer Suleiman, it brings together Scholars and a wide range of experts in various scientific and academic fields to help counter the propaganda and accusations levelled against Islam.
Also to address various doubts that are occurring in the minds of the youth, due to the prevalent propaganda.
"We aim to address relevant topics head-on with the help of the foremost experts in this space. In addition to translating and analyzing classical works on the subject matter, we also aim to actively participate in the current day discourse touching on all topics that are related to establishing conviction in the hearts and minds of Muslims, and battling the false notions that underlie Islamophobia and extremism. The institute aims to be the trusted source regarding these topics by creating engaging content in various formats, including journals, papers, articles, surveys, videos, conferences, and curriculum.
The Institute is a non-profit research initiative that will make all of its content free and accessible. This will allow everyone looking for answers, and those tasked with giving answers, to always have a comprehensive resource readily available to them.
We believe that telling our own story is the only way to counter the narrative that has been forced upon our community."
Some of these children come to him without names, so this most faithful Muslim does what the old Hebrew texts would praise: He crowns them.
“In the hospital, they give birth, they leave them,” Mohamed Bzeek says in the clipped accent of his native Libya, the words issued in vehement bursts. “Their families don’t name them. It comes on the paper: ‘Baby boy,’ ‘Baby girl.’ I name them. I give them names.”
In the more than 20 years that Bzeek has been fostering sick and terminally ill kids, 10 have died, but none without a name.
A name isn’t shelter, so he has given them that, too—this orderly four-bedroom house in an unassuming neighborhood in Azusa. He has made sure to give them a home.
Bzeek would say he hasn’t given them anything at all, but has merely met the terms proposed by his faith. “It is obligatory,” he says. “If I can help somebody, I have to help.
“I believe each kid has the right to have a family, and someone who loves them and cares about them and can be with them during their difficult time.”
Most of the children he fosters are abandoned soon after birth, once their parents learn of the terminal diagnosis, or discover it’s too much for them to take on. Los Angeles County’s Department of Children and Family Services turns to Bzeek; no other foster parent will take them. “Nobody wants to take them because nobody wants to deal with death,” he says.
chla-mr-bzeek-foster-parent-nurse-2.jpgBzeek was initiated into foster parenting in 1989 when he met and married his late wife, Dawn, who had been providing foster care since the early ’80s. He had come to the U.S. about a decade earlier as a student and had been pursuing a career as an electrical engineer. In 1995, he and Dawn began fostering sick and dying children exclusively, wanting to give them the family surroundings not afforded at a facility or institution. They would care for as many as three terminally ill kids at one time.
“I used to have four women in the house!” Bzeek says, grinning. “My wife and three nurses! Heh heh heh!”
Dawn passed away from lung disease two years ago. Without her, Bzeek only has the capacity to handle one child. Now in his care is a 6 ½-year-old girl who suffers from microcephaly, a neurological disorder that stunts the development of the brain and skull. She is blind and deaf and unable to move her arms and legs. She sits upright supported by cushions, at the end of the sofa opposite Bzeek.
Bzeek took her in when she was 6 weeks old and was told she would only live for months, at most. Yet here she is. “It’s just prediction,” Bzeek says. “Nobody knows. God knows, really. Every day I wake up and she’s alive, it’s a blessing.”
He pops up regularly to quell her sudden fits of gagging, using a tube to suction out the saliva she generates but can’t swallow. “What’s going on? What is this?” he says to her sweetly. He pets her cheek and tousles her hair, and tweaks her chin. “Why are you doing that? Why are you scaring Daddy?”
Bzeek is on his own today; the weekday nurse who frees him to run errands is away. He says his last day off was in 2010, when he visited Libya for only the second time since leaving the country in 1978. Any excursion out requires a lengthy effort to pack up machines and medications. If he does leave the house, it’s likely for an appointment at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where he takes each of his foster kids for treatment.
He doesn’t expend long thoughts on why he does this. Why does anyone do anything? Because it needs doing. “These kids need somebody,” he says. “These kids need help. They have nobody.”
Bzeek also cares for the one son he had with Dawn, Adam. The 19-year-old was born with dwarfism and osteogenesis imperfecta, which translates to brittle bone disease. He has broken every bone in his body. Bzeek says he can fracture his elbow just by leaning on it.
Adam can’t walk, so Bzeek modified the house to accommodate him, swapping out the carpet for wood floors. He used to move about by rolling on his stomach; now he surfs from room to room resting on a skateboard that his father fashioned out of an ironing board and a pair of roller-skate wheels.
Bzeek says he was always frank with Adam about the nature of the children he would bring home, the ones Adam would come to regard as his siblings. “These are the kinds of kids we take and they’re going to die,” Bzeek told him. “We don’t know when, but we take them and help them so they can have family, have security, have something they call home.”
The first foster child to die in Bzeek’s care was a year old. She had spina bifida, resulting in part of her spine growing outside her skin. She was in a full body cast when she passed away on July 4, 1991, as Bzeek was taking a shower while his wife made dinner.
He recalls hearing a lot of commotion, racing from the shower and finding paramedics in his house. Dawn told him the girl had died. He relives it: “What do you mean she died? She was OK!” He throws his hands back, mimicking his wife’s stoic response. “‘She died.’ I was so sad, I cried for three days. Unbelievable.”
He recounts a few others, including one boy who lived with Bzeek for eight years. He had short-gut syndrome and took his meals through a feeding tube, but Bzeek and his wife set a place for him at dinner each night. “We gave him his plate, his spoon, his fork, his cup—but there was nothing in it,” he says.
Ask him why go to all that trouble, and his voice rises, incredulous. “He’s family! We sit as a family!” He softens his tone. “All of us at the table.”
He hadn’t told anyone of his foster parenting until last February, when a Los Angeles Times story brought Bzeek out of anonymity and into a rush of worldwide media attention. He did interviews with CNN, Al Jazeera, Telemundo, and British and Turkish TV. Within three days of the story’s publication, a documentary crew was in his house, shooting, and later followed him through a visit to CHLA. One online commenter called Bzeek the Muslim Mother Teresa. A woman in Oakland opened a GoFundMe account on his behalf; he didn’t learn of it until the company contacted him. The donations will be a boost to the $1,600 a month he gets from L.A. County. He plans to put the money toward some essential home improvement, starting with installing air conditioning.
A second-grade schoolteacher went so far as to make a video storybook about Bzeek’s beard, a furry nest that precedes him by a good three inches. The video recites in illustration the many things his beard is, starting with, “His beard is full of love.”
He hasn’t trimmed it in four years, but there was a time it was cropped into a tight goatee. And he was thin once, too, 75 pounds lighter than he is now. The collection of running shoes lining a bottom shelf inside his front door carried Bzeek through 16 marathons, the last in 2006. He stopped running as his wife’s health began to decline.
At 62, he has had his own health struggles. He had a heart attack in 2012, and he’s diabetic. Last December doctors removed 15 centimeters of his colon after discovering stage-2 cancer. “I had no family and I was scared,” he says. “I felt the same what the kids feel. They are alone. If I am 62 and I am scared, what about them?”
He is accepting of death and dying, as he would have to be to permit so much of it into his home. “We know there are three things written on you before you’re born,” he says, “when you’re going to die, how you’re going to die and where you’re going to die.
“These things are out of my hands. I do whatever I can for these kids, fight for them, do anything they need, and then I leave the rest to God, the god who created them.”
In his front yard, he stands under a tree that offers a large circle of shade. He’s not so impressed by it. “We used to have a big one,” he says, tilting back with outstretched arms. “It was a bi-i-i-ig one.”
The grass is patchy and listless. He says he’ll use part of the GoFundMe contributions to restore it. You can’t help but notice there’s a giant A embedded in the mountainside north of the house. It would be foolish and corny to think it stands for the angel down the hill. It might not be wrong, though.
During the last week of Ramadan, I received an amazing WhatsApp message . A group of young Muslim women in south London came up with the idea for Muslims everywhere in the UK to deliver a hamper of food to their local fire stations with a thank you note.
In the suggested thank you note was a reference to the Quranic verse: “And whoever saved a life, it is as if he saved the whole of mankind.” [Quran 5:32]
They named the project Love4Legends. Rightly so.
The response from the firefighters has been phenomenal. In some cases, the families delivering the hampers have been invited into the stations for up to two hours, children sitting in the fire engines, etc.
Some of the firefighters have been reduced to tears at this touching gesture. Understandably so. When things go wrong, everyone blames them. Why should anyone thank them?
A close friend who is a consultant doctor recently told me, “When tragedy strikes, police secure the outer cordon, ambulances go through to collect the injured for us, but the real heroes who are on the front line and put their lives at risk to save the lives of others, are the firefighters.
So if you don’t wish to support a project like Love4Legends to thank firefighters, at least have the decency not to blame or criticise these heroes when someone dies in a fire.
Love4Legends is on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @Love4Legends.
After being shot in the face, Rais Bhuiyan becomes forgiveness ambassador
In Dallas in 2001, Rais Bhuiyan was shot in the face by a white supremacist, revenge for 9/11. He then spent years fighting to save the shooter’s life, and now runs a nonprofit called World Without Hate. He hopes to relocate to Seattle.
By Nicole Brodeur
Seattle Times columnist
Ten days after the September 11 terrorist attacks, a man walked into a Dallas convenience store and held a double-barreled shotgun just inches from Rais Bhuiyan’s face.
Bhuiyan, who had been held up before, opened the register, put all the bills on the counter and asked the man not to shoot him.
“Where are you from?” the man asked, then opened fire.
The pellets felt to Bhuiyan like “millions of bees” stinging his face. He screamed for his mother.
That would make sense later, since it was she who taught Bhuiyan to survive — and to forgive.
Bhuiyan, now 44, would recover from his injuries and go on to become an IT systems manager in Dallas, and marry an American woman named Jessica Carso.
But he also spent years fighting to save the life of Mark Stroman, the white supremacist who killed two other men before shooting Bhuiyan — crimes he considered revenge for the 9/11 attacks. Stroman was eventually sentenced to death.
Bhuiyan would petition Texas courts and even the U.S. Supreme Court for clemency in an effort to spare Stroman’s life. It was denied.
“By executing him, we would be losing him in life without dealing with the root cause,” he said on a recent visit to Seattle. “Execution was not the solution. It would not eradicate hate crimes from this world. I had to save his life to make a change.”
On the day of his execution, Stroman asked to speak with Bhuiyan on the phone.
“I love you, bro,” he told him.
Said Bhuiyan: “I couldn’t believe it was the same human who shot me in the face 10 years before.”
The experience would spur Bhuiyan to establish a nonprofit called World Without Hate, which strives to illustrate the power of — and teach — mercy and forgiveness through workshops and “empathy ambassador” training in schools, offices, even prisons.
“There is a need to cure this disease of hate in our society, this tribal mentality,” he said. “Institutional education doesn’t show you how to be polite, how to be compassionate, how to be a better human, unless your parents and teachers are willing to go the extra mile.”
Bhuiyan was here to speak to the Rotary Club of Seattle. He was invited by Rotarian Hamilton McCulloh, who saw a segment on “CBS Sunday Morning” about Bhuiyan last fall and invited him out.
“I thought, ‘This guy is amazing,’” McCulloh said. “I’ve never seen anything like that in my life.”
The invite was fortuitous, since Bhuiyan and Carso are hoping to relocate to Seattle, where they feel their mission is understood and embraced.
“We’ve traveled to many cities, and the passion we’ve seen for this cause is the highest in Seattle,” Bhuiyan said. “It’s a city not just famous for its tech industry, but it stood up against the Muslim ban, for human rights. It’s a sanctuary city.”
Bhuiyan is the subject of a book, “The True American,” written by Anand Giridharadas. The New York Times Book Review named it as one of the “100 Notable Books” of 2014.
Schools such as The College of Charleston and the University of Massachusetts Amherst have made it required summer reading for incoming freshmen, and have invited Bhuiyan to their campus discussions.
The rights to the book have been picked up for a feature film, Bhuiyan said. And he has visited The White House to be part of a domestic-policy council, and to celebrate the end of Ramadan.
There are plans to start university and community chapters of World Without Hate, which would create discussions and workshops around immigration, gun violence, racism and drugs — which all led to that moment at the convenience store between Stroman and Bhuiyan.
So much good has come from Bhuiyan’s gesture of forgiveness, and still you wonder: How did he do it? He is blind in one eye. He still has three-dozen shotgun pellets in his face. There isn’t a day when he isn’t reminded of what Stroman did.
Bhuiyan had so many answers, he barely knew where to start.
“I grew mentally and psychologically,” Bhuiyan began, then recalled a monthlong trip to Mecca, where he learned to see Stroman as a human.
He remembered something his mother taught him: When people hurt you, “Put a zipper on your mouth,” he said. “Stop the violence. It gives the other person a chance to think about what happened, and your mind will be able to act better.”
That’s exactly what happened to Stroman, Carso said. Prison gave him the time to think about what he did, away from the people who taught him that violence was the answer. (In interviews, Stroman blamed his stepfather “for lessons I should have never have learned.”)
“He really had to be quiet with himself,” she said, “without the noise outside, to think about what he grew up with.”
To be sure, though, Bhuiyan carries anger within him.
“It’s like a scar,” he said. “It may never go away. But you have the power to look at it and say, ‘I was able to heal it and to get myself back.’”
The team that won the Hult Prize poses with their trophy on September 16 at U.N. headquarters. From left: Gia Farooqi, Hanaa Lakhani, Moneeb Mian, and Hasan Usmani. They developed a ride-sharing rickshaw service for refugees in a Pakistan slum.
Jason DeCrow/Hult Prize Foundation via AP Ima
On a stage at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, the young executives of six start-up companies made their final, feverish bids to win the coveted Hult Prize. Each had formed and launched business ideas over the last year that would try to solve this year's Hult Prize challenge – improving the well-being of at least one million refugees over the next five years.
The six finalists rose to the stage from a pool of 50,000 applicants. The judges are an illustrious bunch, including Mercy Corps CEO Neal Keny-Guyer, Earth Day Network president Kathleen Rogers and KIVA president Premal Shah. They decided who wins a big blue megaphone-shaped trophy — and a million dollars in startup capital. The money comes from the Hult family, whose patriarch, Bertil Hult, founded EF Education First. The Hult Prize was formerly associated with the Clinton Global Initiative. The Initiative has ended its annual conference, so the U.N. hosted the Hult Prize for the first time this year and plans to host again next year.
One team pitched an enterprise to bring fast and reliable web services to refugees, and two companies sought to connect displaced people to jobs through apps and digital workplaces.
The company is called Roshni Rides. In the pilot, refugees paid a fixed fee for a ride to town in one of these three motorized rickshaws. Roshni is a name that means "light" in Iran and India.
The winner this year is a startup called Roshni Rides, Bill Clinton announced at the end of the competition last Saturday. The former president, who began working with the Hult Prize in 2010, continued to speak but a roar of cheers drowned out his words. As he inched toward the stage, Roshni Rides CFO Moneeb Mian said in a breathless falsetto, "Oh, my God, we won."
Roshni Rides provides a private shuttle service dedicated to ferrying refugees from their homes to schools, work, hospitals and markets. "[The company] has an immediate impact and addresses one of the greatest needs, which is mobility. If you can't be mobile, you are a prisoner," says Ahmad Ashkar, the founder of the Hult Prize.
At the moment, Roshni Rides is set up in Orangi Town, a slum of 2.4 million inhabitants — the largest in the world — outside Karachi, Pakistan, that's densely populated with refugees from around Asia.
As in many informal settlements in South Asia, transportation services there are practically non-existent, says Gia Farooqi, the company's CEO. "There's no good roads. There are ambulance systems, but they're not very effective. There's not a lot of government money invested into these locations." Walking or biking is often unrealistic because of the long distances between refugee settlements and basic services like hospitals.
Even auto rickshaws, three-wheeled motorized taxis common in south Asia, are simply out of reach. Drivers often prefer to stay in the city where customers have more money. When refugees are able to flag a rickshaw, they might be forced to pay staggering prices, says Hasan Usmani, COO of Roshni Rides. "One of the women [in a focus group] wanted to take her dad to the hospital. He was having a heart attack, and they needed a rickshaw" he says. "See, the thing is, it's not necessarily the driver's fault because they're from the bottom of the [economic] spectrum as well. So, when the driver got there, he hiked the price like six times."
And people don't have any choice but to pay. "It's a classic example of someone getting taken advantage of in a vulnerable situation," Usmani says.
Looking at this situation sparked an idea in the team. The drivers aren't making enough money because there are so many of them in the city, Mian says. At the same time, millions of people in settlements outside the city need transportation but don't have options. "As supply chain majors, we saw this as a huge inefficiency. [Seeing] it was heartbreaking, but we stepped back and we realized this is just a huge logistical problem, and we can solve it by making small adjustments in the market," Mian says.
The team originally wanted to create a solar-powered, electric rickshaw company. But instead, for their pilot project they turned to employing existing rickshaw drivers and using their taxis to create ride-sharing service. By giving the drivers set routes, like a bus, running between pick-up points in a refugee settlement directly to designated points of interest like a market or a hospital, Usmani says they create a transportation network catered to refugee needs.
By filling the rickshaw's three seats with passengers and scaling up to serve more riders, Roshni Rides can charge passengers half the price of a typical rickshaw ride — 80 rupees or $1.20 — and still pay their drivers a salary much higher than what they made as an independent driver. Where an independent driver might pick up an average of eight passengers per day, a Roshni Rides driver gets about 40, according to the team. Most important, the service can make resources like health care, education and job opportunities accessible to refugees who could scarcely reach them before, Farooqi says.
The team developed the idea for Roshni Rides only over the last year, but Usmani says they'd been working together for years. The four co-founders met three years ago at Rutgers University when the company's CMO, Hanaa Lakhani, suggested they work together to compete for student business prizes. The quartet won a student competition every year until Lakhani graduated in 2016.
Then, Lakhani heard about the Hult Prize and left her post-graduation job at a bank to get the team back together for one more round. The Hult Prize's ethos of social entrepreneurship — for-profit businesses creating solutions for social problems — appealed to them immediately.
"I think social entrepreneurship and Islam go hand in hand," says Farooqi. "Islam is about being the best person you can be every day and doing the most good."
"This is a faith-based team. Incorporating our faith makes what we do that much more passionate," Lakhani adds.
When Clinton announced this year's challenge would be aimed at refugees, "that's when we got really serious about it," Farooqi says. "Trump was elected, and there was a lot about the Syrian refugee crisis. The stories in the news reminded us of stories that our grandparents and parents told us. As four Muslim-Americans, we're connected to our global Muslim family. Everything that happens to them hurts [us] as well."
All four co-founders of Roshni Rides are Pakistani Americans who are Muslim. And they're hearing from their fellow Muslims about the million dollar prize they won. "Some of the messages [I'm] getting are just like, 'you don't know how impactful it is to see four Muslim-Americans up there on that stage representing the United States in today's climate.' That's empowering to a lot of people, and I can't be more humbled to be in this position," Farooqi says.
Taufeeq Ahamed @TaufeeqAhamed
To see @RoshniRides holding their prize with President Clinton, donning hijabs, beards, and a kufi, it means a lot as a Muslim American 😭🎉
In the coming years, Roshni Rides hopes to use the prize money to expand the company. By 2022, they aim to have a fleet of 1,200 rickshaws across south Asia and serve 2.2 million refugees.
If they meet that goal, the company is projected to make a profit of over $5 million a year through advertising revenue and fares. But before all that, "I think we need like a minute to soak in the gravity of what just happened [Saturday] night," Lakhani says. There were a lot of sleepless nights working up to the competition finals, Mian adds. A little rest would be nice.
"I walked past him and thought I'd give him a chance": Garage owner helps homeless man turn his life around
Every day after work, garage-owner Shezad Zaman used to pass Kriss Wilkes begging on the side of the street
A kind garage owner who saw a homeless man begging on the street outside his business decided to help - he offered him a job, a home and fresh clothes - and now he is thriving.
Every day after work, DAC Car Wash owner Shezad Zaman, 29, used to pass Kriss Wilkes, 23, begging on the side of the street in Birmingham.
“Kriss was literally right opposite the garage and I thought I would give him a chance,” he said.
“We have to help each other and I thought if I wasn’t going to help him, who else would?" Shezad told the Birmingham Mail .
He offered Kriss a two-week trial at his DAC Car Wash and then found him accommodation.
Kriss is now working part-time detailing cars, which involves cleaning, restoring and finishing vehicles.
And the recruit has taken to his new role with such enthusiasm he has even danced in a promotional video for the garage waving improvised glow sticks.
Kriss said: “I was a homeless man a few months ago, I was addicted to drugs but now I’m clean.
“I used to sleep rough in my car or in shop doorways, in town.”
Shezad said: “I saw Kriss on the street right outside the garage when I used to finish work.
“He would be collecting money by the traffic lights and I said to him, ‘you’re a local lad, you don’t need to be doing this, come and work for us instead’.
“He came in for a two-week trial and worked hard and showed me he was capable of doing what we do. He now works part-time and I have found him a room in one of my son’s houses.
“Kriss has had a lot of setbacks but I wanted to give him a chance to make something of his life.
“He’s happy and enjoying working with us.”
Kriss appears in a video posted on the company’s Facebook page, where he dances and raps about the garage’s services.
He was originally from Walsall but moved to Blackpool before returning to the West Midlands.
He said: “When my dad died I came back and my head was a bit gone.
“I used to sit at some traffic lights on the Stratford Road in Birmingham and beg until one day when my gaffer, Shezad, came over and gave me a chance. He got me a room sorted and got me a job.
“He got me fresh clothes, trainers, shoes and basically I’m living alright and I’ve sorted myself out and I’m getting there.”
Staff at the car wash, on Stoney Lane, carry out a charitable mission every Christmas, which usually involves giving food to homeless people in the city centre, but this year Shezad only needed to look over the forecourt.
“His father passed away when he was young and he moved to Birmingham.
“A lot of people let him down and he couldn’t claim Jobseeker’s because he was homeless.
“He’s been an amazing part of our team and we want him to be successful because he’s got his life ahead of him.”
Staff at a muslim owned food place decided to open on christmas day..to give free food to homeless received a huge positive response on social media. This intiative was then copied by many other businesses across the U.K.
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.
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