Ramadan Food Parcels Initiative


Ramadan is a scared month in the Muslim calendar year and whilst many associate it as a month of fasting, it is so much more than that. It is a month focused on giving back and being even more conscious of ones surroundings, which includes neighbours. Giving back doesn't always mean giving money, it can come in many forms from helping with lifts for shopping / appointments, picking up the phone to have a chat, sharing a hot meal.

In Covid, over the month of ramadan since we couldn't have our Iftaar parties with friends and family due to the restrictions, I set up a Ramadan Saturday Night 3 Course home cooked hot meal for local families in need of a decent home cooked meal, irrespective of faith. Many of us had time on our hands and we were aware that many families were struggling & I thought the money I would have spent on hosting Iftaar dinners, I would spend on helping others. Coming out of covid, things have not get better so I continue to do this initiative & it has now become an annual calendar event for all of us. 

I also set this initiative up because I wanted to lead by example and inspire my kids to be aware of the community around them & to teach them how they could make a difference, which is why I get them to help me pack the bags and make the labels.

However I don't do this by myself I have a great team of volunteers made up of friends, family and people whom I have connected with via various Facebook groups. Each one of them plays a vital role, whether that's cooking, doing drop offs or shopping. Each year the list of people who need help gets bigger and bigger, some now beyond the geographic region I can cover. 

This year I hope to inspire people on a national basis to do the same, you don't have to help 100s, even if you help 1 or 10 local families it makes a difference, here's how to do it.

1. Create a WhatsApp group reaching out to friends, family neighbours to see who would be interested. Some may help to cook, others may just wish to donate towards the cause but every little helps.

2. Determine a menu for each of the Saturdays in advance, there tend to be 4 Saturdays. Below is a screenshot of one weeks menu and how we all put our name against what we could do and in what quantity.

Typically each bag will have a starter, rice, a curry, naan bread, fruit, trifle, cake & soft drinks

3. To create a list of families who need help, you can either approach a local school who will have a list of families who are on the free meals list. You can coordinate with them on how to get the meals to them. You can also share messages in a local Facebook group for people to message you privately and let you know.
4. Determine roles for each week. Some weeks you might be able to cook, other weeks you might just be able to do the drop offs etc.
5. Approach local supermarkets to see if they would be willing to donate carrier bags which will be needed for each of the food parcels. Sometimes you may need 2 per family.
6. This link 'How to make a difference in Ramadan?' will provide you with some videos we made from last year to inspire you and a downloadable information pack to help get you started.
If you need help to get started and have any more questions, please feel free to get in touch with me on contact@sikhana.uk or call me on 0203 150 1444. It will be one of the most rewarding forms of worship.