Islamic Circle of North America gives back in Lawrence

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As the aroma of popcorn wafted across a portion of the Five Towns Community Center gymnasium in Lawrence on Nov. 13, roughly 300 people came through the doors about 10 at time to choose from a variety of items at the Winter Giveaway sponsored by the Islamic Circle of North America and supplemented by Gammy’s Pantry, the Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent and Affinity Health Plan.

“The benefit is giving back to the communities that really need it,” ICNA health fair coordinator Atif Ur Rehman said, explaining why the organization sponsors such giveaways.

For nearly eight years ICNA has sponsored similar events at the Community Center and across Long Island and Queens. In the summer there was a Back to School supplies giveaway at the center.

Beginning with entering the gym, Mariarosa Guzzardi handed adults a reusable bag and they could pick from toys, diapers, soap, washable drawing makers, assorted canned food and clothes including sweatshirts, sweatpants, winter hats, gloves, and blankets. ICNA had two tables: one with information and the other for medical screenings such as a blood pressure check.

“The benefit is just to provide all the help we can to the community,” ICNA administrative outreach coordinator Shumaila Noor said, “with some people suffering from food insecurity this takes a little pressure off of them.”

Mohammed Ibrahim, Noor and Ur Rehman were presented with citations from County Legislator Carrié Solages (D-Lawrence). Solages thanked the Islamic Circle of North America and said he was appreciative of all that they do.

The main mission is to lessen suffering “by providing caring and compassionate service to victims of adversities and survivors of disasters,” according to a statement on ICNA’s website, icnarelief.org.

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