Springfield mosques collaborate to open food pantry

The Mercy Food Pantry at the Masjid An-Nur Mosque, 743 W. Liberty St., will open on the third Friday of each month. CONTRIBUTED
The Mercy Food Pantry at the Masjid An-Nur Mosque, 743 W. Liberty St., will open on the third Friday of each month. CONTRIBUTED

Two Springfield mosques are collaborating to help alleviate the city’s hunger and nutrition needs.

Masjid An-Nur Mosque and Masjid Al-Madina Mosque have formed the Mercy Food Pantry that helped 62 city residents at its grand opening in July and will operate from 3 to 5 p.m. on the third Friday of each month.

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It is located at Masjid An-Nur Mosque, 743 W. Liberty St.

The partnership had been talked about on and off for a while. Masjid An-Nur has participated in clothing giveaways and other charitable projects, while Masjid Al-Madina collaborates twice a year with Springfield church to benefit Springfield Soup Kitchen.

“Springfield has a large percentage of people who need this assistance. I work in social services and see this a lot,” said Imam Mustafaa Islam of Masjid An-Nur.

Mariam Khan said this is something the Masjid Al-Madina congregation wanted to do as helping others is an extension of being Muslim. Both mosques share the same denomination.

“It is important to serve directly in the community; it’s a requirement of our faith,” she said.

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Flyers in the neighborhood around Masjid An-Nur prior to its opening to build awareness and despite rain still drew more people than anticipated on opening day.

Islam said what separates the process from some pantries is rather than being handed a bag or box with items, visitors can choose what they’d like.

The pantry stocks a variety of food staples including canned foods, cereal, potatoes, cabbage, oatmeal, soups, snacks and bread.

Organizers will survey the most popular items and could include things such as meats in the future as he greater numbers of people are expected.

Items are purchased from Second Harvest Food Bank through financial donations from members of both mosques.

Requirements to use the pantry’s services are a picture ID, being a Clark County resident and being in need of such services.

Khan said she was glad the first session went smoothly and said it will be a safe and welcoming space for those in need.

Islam said he hopes the food pantry also will show community members more of what the local Muslim community does.

“This goes a long way to show what Islam is all about. We continue to be a part of the Springfield community and help its needs,” he said.

For more information about Mercy Food Pantry, go to www.facebook.com/mercyfoodpantry/.