Zamir Hassan: Muslims Against Hunger
A software engineer combats America 's hunger crisis
“My goal is to engage Muslims in their communities. I want to change their mindset. They have to live their religion not only practicing it,” confirmed Zamir Hassan, the founder of Muslims Against Hunger in a hotel room in Washington D.C. via Skype video. Hassan is a retired software engineer who grew up in Pakistan and moved to the United States in 1973. He studied at Cornell University, lived in New York, and currently live in New Jersey. “I was in IT before there was IT. So, I had a good life as I did well economically and financially,” said Hassan with a smile in retrospect while moving his face towards the window, and the sunlight reflected on…show more content… The soup kitchen is one of the solutions to afford people free food.
Hassan said that the name of a soup kitchen came from a long time ago when a Christian saint asked everybody to bring food. Everybody brought different things; hence, he decided to cook all the food together in a big pot and served them as soup in order to serve everybody equally. Similarly, Hassan faced this issue when he initiated this program with a group from his mosque. They questioned what kind of food they should feed; one proposed pizza, other suggested spaghetti. However, Hassan asked them if he would visit any of their houses, what they would serve him. Spontaneously, the answers were like chicken, hummus, and baklava. “As a Muslim, I am supposed to feed people from my own plate. Why feed people differently from what we eat or feed our friends? This is the mindset that I want to change because we must practice our religion, but we don’t live our religion. While living with it is an everyday thing, we feed people from what we eat,” assured Hassan in a firm voice.
In 2011, he started the “Hunger Van” program, a mobile version of the soup kitchen. This program relies on going to the needy instead of waiting for them to come to the soup kitchen. In this program, the volunteers prepare two types of sandwiches, drive the van to the areas where there are homeless people, and hand them the sandwiches. “Last year we distributed thirty thousand meals. Hundred and fifty meals came from Non-Muslims: