Church group donates to Berkeley Food Pantry

The Berkeley Center of the Maktab Tarighat Oveyssi, or MTO, Shahmaghsoudi School of Islamic Sufism donated supplies to the Berkeley Pantry on Monday to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, an Islamic holiday marking the end of Ramadan.

The donation consisted of 1,200 pounds of non-perishable food and 200 adult-size masks and 50 child-size masks made by volunteers., according to MTO Berkeley spokesperson Mana Nazeri. She added that the donation is intended to benefit low-income families, seniors and UC Berkeley students.

“Because people are still suffering from the effects of the pandemic, this donation will provide much-needed relief to recipients,” Nazeri said in an email. “We hope our efforts will encourage others to come together and help those in need.”

According to Nazeri, ten MTO Berkeley volunteers helped organize the event at the Berkeley Food Pantry.. In addition to the organizers, Berkeley City Council member Rashi Kesarwani and staff and volunteers from the Berkeley Food Pantry, who helped distribute the food, were present at the event, according to pantry manager Dharma Galang.

Galang noted that the large donation would go “for a long time” to feeding families. She echoed Nazeri’s concerns about the continued impact of COVID-19, noting the critical timing of the donation during a time of high food and energy costs due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Households in Berkeley and Albany that were already struggling before the pandemic are now facing pressure,” Galang said in an email. “We must work together to ensure that all of our neighbors have enough food, basic housing and access to resources to be healthy and stable.”

The event was not the first time MTO Berkeley has provided the Berkeley Food Pantry with donations to help make life easier during a pandemic, Galang noted, adding that she hopes the two organizations can continue to work together at the event. ‘coming.

During the pandemic, MTO Berkeley donated 8,502 pieces of personal protective equipment and 22,256 other items, including food, to 73 facilities, according to Nazeri. The entire MTO — which describes itself as an international nonprofit organization — donated 120,000 tons of food during the pandemic, Nazeri noted.

According to Nazeri, this series of gifts is based on the school’s Islamic faith, which claims its teachings on “self-knowledge” date back to and were endorsed by the religion’s founder. Guided by Islamic principles, the MTO is active in charitable activities, disaster relief and other service activities, Nazeri added.

“Khedmat, or Love-Based Service, is one of the fundamental tenets of Islam,” Nazeri said in an email. “As MTO students and volunteers, we consider it our responsibility to do charity and serve our community.”

Gabe Classon is a school and community journalist. Contact him at [email protected]and follow him on Twitter at @gabeclasson.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that MTO Berkeley had donated 250 adult-size masks. In fact, the group only donated 200 adult-size masks.