Volunteers at UK mosque defy heavy snow to hand out free food to vulnerable
London, Jan. 31, 2021 (AltAfrica)-Volunteers at a UK mosque have spent the day distributing 2,000 meals in the snow amid ‘massive’ demand from vulnerable people.
Even before the relief effort run from a Birmingham mosque began, people began arriving in the biting cold outside a side door.
They included laid-off workers who were asked to observe social distancing and given shelter inside Green Lane Masjid and Community Centre as they waited patiently for food and essential supplies.
Hundreds of families are turning to the mosque every week after it became of hub of support for some of the most disadvantaged people in the city.
The annual ‘Winter Freeze’ campaign, run by the mosque and the Islamic Relief UK charity, has taken on heightened importance during the pandemic.
Around 200 bags of supplies and more than 100 hot takeaway meals of biryani were prepared in the red-brick Victorian building this morning before being handed out in the city centre.
Another 300 parcels were either distributed through the mosque’s on-site foodbank or delivered to the homes of vulnerable people.
Islamic Relief, which began in Birmingham, said the equivalent of 2,000 substantial meals were handed out overall.
The first people to turn up to the foodbank – arriving half-an-hour before it opened in a metal container in the car park – had similar stories.
Craig James, 29, originally from Telford, told Metro.co.uk he was living in a hostel near the mosque after losing his job as a labourer on a building site. He said:
‘I was laid off because of the virus and I haven’t found anything else since. It’s tough. I’ve got no family, nothing. Everything’s so expensive and I scrape by on pennies. I’m just grateful the mosque is always here.’
Wearing a ‘Brum’ hat and clutching his supplies, Keith Burns, 35, expressed hope that the the mosque’s support would help improve his fortunes.
He said: ‘I was working but since the pandemic I’ve been laid off. ‘There’s no chance of me getting another job with an agency. Times are hard and they’re only going to get worse.
‘With the money I’m getting on the dole, this will keep me healthy. It gives me the strength to go out there and get my life back.’