IMCA Food Pantry

Every 3rd Saturday from 10:30 AM - 12 PM and Every Sunday during Ramadan

To give an in-kind donation, text (317) 296-3723

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Doing Our Deen By Feeding Our Neighbors

Every night in Indianapolis, 18,000 kids go to bed without dinner. That’s because the food insecurity rate in Marion County is 19.2%, about 5 points above the national average, according to a 2014 Feeding America study. This means that 1 in 5 people doesn’t know where their next meal will come from or when they will get it. Hoosier Muslims decided to make a difference.

Humble Origins, Big Impact

In 2011, the Board of the Indianapolis Muslim Community Association (Masjid Al-Fajr) voted unanimously to found a food pantry in our mosque with the goal of feeding our neighbors in need.  We benchmarked local pantries for operational expertise, conducted research on food insecurity in the United States, and partnered with our weekend Islamic School to build a volunteer youth corps. Then, we cleared out an old janitor’s closet to house our infant pantry and started with a humble budget of $400 a month. The need in our community is so great that we now routinely see 450+ people at our Sunday-morning public distributions. The majority of the families we serve are immigrants from Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Palestine, and Syria, women and children, the elderly, the disabled, and our African-American and Latino neighbors. During Ramadan our services are needed even more. At our four Ramadan distributions to date on May 20, May 25, May 27, and June 1, 2018, we fed close to 200 families. Each distribution costs about $3,000. We need your help!

Social Justice and Community Spirit

When we began our pantry in 2011, we knew that we wanted to feed the poor; what we didn’t realize is how much the pantry would feed our spirit. We have become a locus for community cohesion and pride. We are a regular volunteer destination for our Muslim teenagers and local college students; we have shoppers, baggers, and shelf-stockers who have worked with us for years; we have families who regularly volunteer as a unit: mom, dad, son, and daughter. Food insecurity in America is ultimately a matter of social justice. By modeling civic engagement through our work in the pantry, we are fostering a lifelong commitment to ‘doing the deen’ among our youth as well as demonstrating to our neighbors what it really means to be a Muslim American. In 2014, our efforts were recognized by The Muslim Alliance of Indiana, a state-wide social justice and civic engagement organization, with the receipt of the Community Service Award.

Help Us to Feed Our Neighbors

To continue our work, we need an annual budget of $35,000. We’re different from other food pantries because we also supply soap, diapers, sanitary napkins, shampoo, toothpaste, and laundry detergent in addition to food. Research has shown that toiletries are the most requested items at pantries across the nation. Most pantries supply clients with only enough food for 24-48 hours, but we try to provide our families with enough supplies for a week. This practice reduces the documented stress and life disruption associated with the constant search for food among the nation’s poor. Please donate some of your zakat to our pantry. We also appreciate your prayers for our continued operation inshallah.