© 2022 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Central Ohio Mosque Hands Out Free Turkeys To Needy Families

Thanksgiving will include a large turkey for hundreds of families in need thanks to an effort led by a central Ohio mosque.

You have a happy Thanksgiving okay. You too thank you." Members of the Noor Islamic Cultural Center teamed up with the Columbus Public School District to brighten the Thanksgiving holiday for 800 families within the district. Families like Edna Moore's were identified within the district and given a voucher to get a free turkey.

"We've been struggling like my mom passed away in June and we've been homeless for a minutes. We just got a house together and everything together so yea it's a blessing to have this, Moore said."

Father of five Tracy McElroy is unemployed.

"I think it's actually a good thing that they actually did something like this to bless people out in the neighborhood, McElroy said."

Event coordinator,Hassan El-Mehalawi says the Islamic faith teaches the importance of giving and the turkey giveaway was a great way to help hundreds of people struggling to feed their families during tough economic times.

"A lot of people unfortunately they're underprivileged and they can't even afford a dinner like this and it's a really small gift. It's nothing really, but it's whatever we can do to help, El-Mehalawi said."

The giveaway also casts a different light on the Noor Islamic Cultural Center which has been in the news lately. It's the mosque attended by Rifqa Bary the Columbus teenager who fled her family after converting to Christianity 20-year old member Maria Ahmad says the turkey giveaway and not controversial stories is what her faith is all about.

"Just like any human there's good people and bad people and we just get the label. If the bad person is a Muslim then the Muslim stands out. Usually if we do something good they don't always say the Muslim part, Ahmad said."

Event organizers hope to make the turkey giveaway an annual event.

Debbie Holmes began her career in broadcasting in Columbus after graduating from The Ohio State University. She left the Buckeye state to pursue a career in television news and worked as a reporter and anchor in Moline, Illinois and Memphis, Tennessee.