Muslims Serve offers free meals to Philadelphia’s hungry, no questions asked

Abdellah Abdul Qawi is this week’s Philly Rising Changemaker
Abdellah Abdul Qawi.
Abdellah Abdul Qawi. Photo credit Abdellah Abdul Qawi.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Abdellah Abdul Qawi is tackling food insecurity in Philadelphia and Camden as director of Muslims Serve, an organization that prepares and serves free meals to those in need.

“We serve meals every week now, doing over 250 meals a day at the Hub of Hope in Center City,” he said.

“We partner with organizations like Philabundance and Care for Friends. We do dry boxes as well, because we're trying to meet people where they are because of the pandemic. So a lot of people need dry goods because they don't have the refrigeration necessary to store the food.”

The organization started out of United Muslim Masjid, but they serve anyone who’s hungry, regardless of faith.

“85% of the people that we feed are not Muslim. Almost 60% of the people that help us are Muslim,” he said.

“It's about just feeding the need, not if you're a Muslim, if you're a Christian, if you're Jewish. Hunger doesn't draw any lines. So we don't draw any lines when it comes down to feeding people.”

His work, and that of Muslims Serve, is happening when inflation is driving demand for assistance from food banks to levels as high as the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Qawi said he has seen how poverty can hit people out of nowhere, no matter how good their situation was.

“I had a person that was an electrical engineer, and he lost his job,” said Qawi. ”Yeah, he was driving a Mercedes, but he didn't have enough money to feed his family.”

It can take time and certain qualifications to get benefits like SNAP or EBT.

For Qawi, his work is about feeding people who need a meal right now, no questions asked.

“I don't need an explanation on why you need something to eat,” said Qawi. “Is your belly empty? How can I help you fill your belly?

To find out where and when Muslims Serve will be distributing meals, or how you can volunteer, go to muslimsserve.org.

To hear more stories about changemakers in our community, visit kywnewsradio.com/phillyrising.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Abdellah Abdul Qawi.