“Feed the Hungry” in Severodonetsk: Benefit Gains Momentum Despite the Hardships and the Sceptics



Severodonetsk Muslim community joined “Feed the Hungry” on 15 December 20194 on that day, they fed 16 poeple. Those poor people had their full meals and hot tea, and the organizers decided to make the benefit a weekly one and lay the table each Sunday at 14^00. According to Temur Beridze, the local Imam, the feeding may not be high, yet the dishes are cooked with the same care as for their own families, and the portion sizes are the same, too.

Gradually the bush telegraph spread the news of the Muslims’ hospitality, and more people started coming: 20, 30, 40, and later even 60. Besides, the volunteers of Severodonetsk ICC made sure to deliver food portions to a dozen bedriffen needy people. Seeing the dynamics made the Imam worry if the local community could keep up and have enough money to feed everyone, so he published a card number where everyone willing could wire the money to support the initiative (Oschadbank, 5167 8020 0316 8132, Temur Beridze, for wiring from Ukraine only).

The Muslims’ only demand was “no alcohol” policy, while the rest remained on the attendees honour: nobody was required to prove their needy situation. Sheikh Temur says that as of today, there were no attempts of violating that established order. Moreover, people quite understand that in order to feed them, others deprive themselves of something, so they do their best to lighten the burden, by bringing firewood for instance.

Still, not everyone got the concept of selfless help, so the Imam had more than one conversation on the social media where he had to fight off people who were making fun of the initiative and even accused the organisers. He was accused of showing off, of hyping for the Islamic Centre, on following his own ambition, and even of trying to gain on other people’s scrutiny (like, “what if he wasn’t spending everything people had wired on the needy?”). Still, others skip the talking and jump to action: sometimes the parishioners took the initiative and did the cooking on their own, leaving the Imam just with providing the ICC yard and inviting the people.

The Imam stresses that the initiative is purely social and that its only goal is to please God:

— For Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, taught that nobody’s faith would be perfected until they kept going to bed full-bellied while knowing that their neighbour was going to sleep hungry.