Local nonprofit gifts meals and school supplies to families
By Taneen Momeni
A cold winter wind blew as three volunteers worked quickly to deliver school supplies and packaged meals to families patiently waiting in their cars outside of the Al-Huda School. The line of cars on Edgewater Road stretched all the way back to 52nd Place.
Helpers to Good, a program under the auspices of Ansaar-ul-Birr Community Services Inc., hosted their Kids Fun Festival on Feb. 19 and Feb. 20, giving free lunches and school supplies ranging from backpacks and pencil cases to paper and calculators to kids on both days. And that line of cars underscored the event’s success; Bibi Mohamed, the program’s director, noted that the queue had already formed by the time she and other volunteers arrived an hour before the festival started.
Azad Mohamed, who has been volunteering with Helpers to Good for about a decade, participated because he wanted to help support the community — and especially students. Classes are in person again, after many months of challenging transitions, and some students may need extra encouragement.
Throughout the afternoon, a group of about 10 volunteers helped to package and hand out meals.
Not long after Saturday’s event began, the organization ran out of meals and supplies — but there was still a line of cars waiting. Bibi Mohamed and the volunteers decided to repeat the event the next day and invited everyone to come back.
“Most of the time, we usually have a surplus [of food], and we go through the neighborhood and start giving it out to the neighbors,” Azad Mohamed said. “This is the first time we ran out in a while.”
Helpers to Good gave out almost 400 meals and 200 gifts over the course of two days. The event was supported by the city and a national relief organization. “The lunch was sponsored by a grant from the city of College Park, and the gift was from one of our [partners], Islamic Relief [U.S.A],” Bibi Mohamed wrote in an email.
Helpers for Good actively supports the local community with programs designed to serve not only students, but seniors, refugees and others in need. As Bibi Mohamed wrote in her email, “We do a different activity monthly to [connect] with our community.” And the popularity of the Kids Fun Fest is proof of how vital community connections can be.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to helperstogood.org.