ROQUETAS SOUP KITCHEN IN DEMAND DURING RAMADAN
Kevin Reardon / 2012-08-12 15:27:42
One Immigrants Association is providing Muslims with free meals during Ramadan. About 150 Muslims daily, all of whom are out of work, and who do not have the opportunity to celebrate the month of fasting according to their religion, are being fed at the centre, an operation which began on the first day of the Holy festival.
The initiative was launched by the Cultural Asociación Al-ihsan in Roquetas de Mar for people without financial resources and will run until 19 August. A spokesman for the Association said that they are purely coordinating the efforts of many local people and businesses who is each providing a variety of different things.
"Some establishments give us juice, others donate milk, eggs and there are many financial contributions so we can buy whatever else we need, "explains Mohammed Siade, President of the Moroccan Association.
Siade says that most of the food and the economic contributions come fromother ‘better off’ members of the Muslim community who are settled in the town of Roquetas de Mar and who own business or shop establishments. However, the Spanish owned Bakery Cruz Garcia is also making a significant daily contribution. "The owner uses his delivery van for two hours every day to move food to the soup kitchen and he also allows us to store food in his refrigerators in the Bakery," says the President of Al-Ihsan.
This association provides a typical Moroccan daily menu during Ramadan consisting of foods such as milk, juice, a special soup with meat and herbs, eggs, cakes, bread, cheese, a traditional sweet and dates that are all donated by participating merchants.
This makeshift soup kitchen has 18 volunteers, 12 men and 6 women, who are all drawn from the Moroccan association. The team divides the tasks so that, by about 21.15 hours, they are ready to serve up the meals. "Women start making the food about three hours before they serve the meal while a number of other local people come in to help us set up the tables and chairs," says Siade.
In addition to help from the 18 volunteers and the provision of foodstuffs from many Roquetas shops the trade union CCOO has provided the venue for the soup kitchen in la plaza Doctor Marín, free of charge, so that the initiative can be performed throughout the month of Ramadan in the same location.
The people who are using the facility are all immigrants who are without work and who have few economic resources. The approximately 150 partakers come from all over Africa, from countries such as Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal and Algeria. The Association President said that they are all people who live in Roquetas de Mar. “We know this because none of them, because of their dire economic situation, own or have access to vehicles.
Their only means of transport is a bicycle.”
Many immigrants have welcomed this new project that allows Muslims to have a guaranteed meal after a long day of fasting. "The 150 people attending the facility are very happy with the commissioning of the dining room. They say that they feel like they are family and hope that the initiative is repeated in coming years,"said the president of Al-Ihsan.
The idea came about because, during the month of Ramadan, mosques usually provide a glass of milk or soup to worshippers after prayers. "We believed that what they were giving was not enough to allow Muslims to recover from their day of fasting during the holy month," explained Siade.
He finished by saying that the Moroccan Cultural Association Al-Ihsan would like to thank all individuals and businesses, as well as Workers' Commissions, which have contributed to this extremely worthwhile cause because "the idea of this project has become a reality and we can now guarantee a plate of food to more than one hundred and fifty unemployed immigrants in Roquetas de Mar who previously have had nothing to put in their mouths."