Huffington Post: The Volunteers Helping Muslim Medical Workers Break Fast During Ramadan
By Rowaida Abdelaziz
Dr. Karishma Rao was 12 hours into a 24-hour shift at a neonatal intensive care unit on Sunday when the sun set and she could break her fasting day, traditional for Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan. It’s a stressful time at Children’s Mercy hospital, with the coronavirus outbreak spreading, and the 32-year-old had no time to step out to get a bite to break her fast or to celebrate with family and friends.
So it was a relief when volunteers came by to drop off a free halal meal Rao could eat with fellow Muslim staffers at the hospital ― a brief moment of relief during a crisis.
“It was a stress that was taken off for me because I already knew that there’s food there. I didn’t have to plan for it or work for it,” Rao said. “Especially knowing that you have, like, a really long shift ahead of you still, even after iftar, I think that makes a really big difference.”
A volunteer group called On Call Halal, launched last month by 31-year-old entrepreneur Kaitlin Abdelrahman, is aiming to provide dozens of Muslim health workers in the area with free meals to begin and break their fasts during Ramadan. The meals come from Muslim-owned restaurants that serve halal food, which is prepared through the requirements of the Islamic faith.
Her group already committed to delivering 3,300 meals for Muslim staffers across three major hospitals: The University of Kansas Health System, Children’s Mercy hospital and Hospital Corporation of America’s Midwest Research Medical Center.
The meals are paid for through sponsors and local donations collected on its website. As of Monday, On Call Halal has raised enough money to pay for 1,400 out of those 3,300 meals.
Hospital workers at Children’s Mercy in Kansas City broke their fast last Friday, the first full fasting day of Ramadan, with chicken biryani ― a hearty Pakistani dish made with rice, chicken and potatoes ― prepared by Sohaila’s Kitchen.
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