Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) fellow readers,

Yes or no? Everyday many of us have the choice or choosing the type of food we want to eat. One day a chicken sandwich may be what we’re craving while another day we’re experiencing a deep desire for mom’s famous homemade biryani. While many people get to enjoy the freedom of choosing what food they want to enjoy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, there are many members of our community who don’t get to experience this privilege. Unable to afford the cost of raw materials to make their favorite dish or lacking the funds to order a meal from a local restaurant, these members of our community often have to rely upon the generosity of soup kitchens, shelters, and religious organizations to find a meal for that day. However, when they walk through the doors of the soup kitchen, shelter, or religious center, they are often stuck eating whatever meal was prepared that day (regardless if they like the food or not). As Muslims around the world embark on a 29 or 30 day journey in the month of Ramadan trying to come closer to the Mercy, Forgiveness, and Reward of their Creator, we are also given insight into the daily struggles of the homeless, the under-served, and underprivileged members of our community struggling to find enough food to eat each day. As Muslims deny their bodies food and drink during the daylight hours, we get to experience the strong pangs of hunger and that deep desire for water to quench our thirst. However our hunger pangs get taken care of with a generous meal after sunset. For the underprivileged members of our community, sunset may serve only as a reminder that one more day has ended and they were fortunate to survive with whatever food rations they had with them.

In order to give members of our community the dignity of choice (to choose what they wanted to eat) and enjoy a meal of their liking, members of the ISGL Youth Group opened our first-ever Restaurant Hope today. The dining area and kitchen at the Lafayette Transitional Housing (LTH) complex was transformed by our youth into a full-service restaurant. Tonight our youth didn’t just serve a meal for hungry members of our community; they also provided a dose of hope and a friendly smile to our guests in the hopes of brightening up their day. We hope the photos below inspire you to consider opening up your very own Restaurant Hope in your community:

Salah dishes out team responsibilities before being bombarded with questions. Ahmed appears distracted by the camera flashing in his face.

Salah dishes out team responsibilities before being bombarded with questions. Ahmed appears distracted by the camera flashing in his face.

 

Mujtaba surrounded by our raw materials. "Wait I have to cook all of this food by myself! HELLLLLPPPPP!"

Mujtaba surrounded by our raw materials. “Wait I have to cook all of this food by myself! HELLLLLPPPPP!”

Raad sets up the table for dinner service...

Raad sets up the table for dinner service…

 

...as Mustafa discovers a rather sticky situation! Three forks have decided they don't want to leave each other's company...

…as Mustafa discovers a rather sticky situation! Three forks have decided they don’t want to leave each other’s company…

 

Murtaza dons a pair of very fashionable purple latex gloves to begin food prep.

Murtaza dons a pair of very fashionable purple latex gloves to begin food prep.

 

Meanwhile Shujath and Mohamed peel potatoes for our mashed potato side dish.

Meanwhile Shujath and Mohamed peel potatoes for our mashed potato side dish.

 

...while Omar carefully watches the chicken boil in a pot (something smells good!)...

…while Omar carefully watches the chicken boil in a pot (something smells good!)…

 

...Adil and Mujtaba carefully cut fruits and veggies for our salad options...

…Adil and Mujtaba carefully cut fruits and veggies for our salad options…

 

...Nurideen gets to work making our fruit juice for the evening service...

…Nurideen gets to work making our fruit juice for the evening service…

 

...Ahmed enjoys a tangy experience with his Tang concoction...

…Ahmed enjoys a tangy experience with his Tang concoction…

 

...Chef Mohamed checks the cheesiness of our mac-and-cheese dish...

…Chef Mohamed checks the cheesiness of our mac-and-cheese dish…

 

As Raad and Mustafa put their creative mind together to create a door sign for our restaurant...

As Raad and Mustafa put their creative mind together to create a door sign for our restaurant…

 

We're officially open for business!  Come on in!

We’re officially open for business! Come on in!

 

What would you like to order tonight?

What would you like to order tonight?

 

Abdelrahman begins calling out our first dinner orders for the evening!

Abdelrahman begins calling out our first dinner orders for the evening!

 

Chefs Adil and Murtaza put the final touches on a customer's order.

Chefs Adil and Murtaza put the final touches on a customer’s order.

 

Muhammad guards the Jello pudding until the next dinner order is ready.

Muhammad guards the Jello pudding until the next dinner order is ready.

 

Server Mustafa eagerly carries a plate of food to a hungry customer.

Server Mustafa eagerly carries a plate of food to a hungry customer.

 

Our team of superheroes enters their secret vehicle ride off into the sunset. Great work gentlemen!

Our team of superheroes enters their secret vehicle ride off into the sunset. Great work gentlemen!

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