View Full Version : Blanket Brigade

12-06-2009, 09:31 AM
From suhaibwebb.com:

WebbStaff Note: This is part of a series of posts entitled “Muslims Making a Difference,” featuring Muslims benefiting society at different levels. To nominate someone to be profiled, please email their name, contact info and bio to: feedback[at]suhaibwebb[dot]com.

By Suzan El-Ajou

Survival of the fittest is a pretty accurate summation of the winters in San Francisco. Those that are fortunate make it through the winters in their heated homes, bundled up while sipping on hot chocolate. The homeless, however, are not so lucky. In the winter of 2005, a local news station covered a story on the cold winter season and how it affected the homeless who lived on the streets of San Francisco. It stated that the homeless shelters did not have enough room for them all. This sparked an idea amongst a group of Bay Area Muslims to prevent their neighbors from staying cold. What started as simply passing out any extra blankets they had or collected became a phenomenal project that no one could have predicted would take form: the Blanket Brigade. The mission: to help alleviate another human’s suffering, to help each other with understanding and love, and to unite people by means of giving.

The Blanket Brigade needed the buy-in of family and friends, and it got just that. Over the years, with the help of social networking sites, the group of supporters has grown tremendously. The Blanket Brigade has a MySpace page and a Facebook fan page that have enabled it to reach many different people.

Those that have committed to supporting this effort have contacted their family, friends, and co-workers to seek donations. The group’s motto? “Making this world a warmer place, one blanket at a time.” Whether it’s one dollar or one blanket, people are encouraged to donate whatever they can. The overwhelming support they have received within their community has inspired many to organize similar projects in their own communities.

This effort was organized by a group of inspired Muslims who wanted to give to the less fortunate. The most beautiful part of it all is that the support given to the cause transcends any religious boundary or divide. It has truly united all of those who have participated under one common goal. Islam teaches one to be good to his neighbor whether they are Muslim or non-Muslim. This is an obligation we have as Muslims. The principle underlying it is that we owe society something. Our neighbors help to bring us out of the trenches when we need them and for this we are indebted to them. This is our opportunity to pay them back.

The amount of gratitude shown by those receiving these blankets is indescribable. Participating in the Blanket Brigade is truly a humbling experience. The material possessions we hold on tightly to become a lot less valuable when you are shown how much joy you are greeted with supplying another human being with the bare essentials to sustain himself or herself.

As with most social problems, we need to tackle homelessness with a vengeance. We are all equipped with the resources to help in doing this and we need to capitalize on this. It is our duty, not just as Muslims, but as members of the human race to not be bystanders to human suffrage. The common argument of “I’m just one person. How can I really make a difference?” is an invalid argument. The Blanket Brigade has proven how one person can make a difference. One person, one blanket, helps one neighbor in need.


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12-06-2009, 06:23 PM
:bump: :bump1:

12-07-2009, 01:08 PM
“Making this world a warmer place, one blanket at a time.”

I love it! MashaAllah, what a wonderful initiative, may Allah reward them for it!

12-08-2009, 03:21 PM
Let's add to this. I received this the other day.


New York (CNN) -- Six months ago, a Long Island convenience store owner turned a would-be robbery into an act of compassion. On Wednesday, the shoplifter made amends with a $50 bill and a thank you letter for saving him from a life of crime.
The story began in May 2009, when Mohammad Sohail of Shirley, New York, was closing his Shirley Express convenience store one night. Security camera footage from that evening shows a man wielding a baseball bat barging into the store and demanding money.
Sohail had a rifle ready and quickly aimed it directly in the robber's face, forcing the man to drop the bat and lay on the ground. Unbeknownst to the man, Sohail never loads his gun.
According to Sohail, the man immediately started to plead with him, tearfully saying, "I'm sorry, I have no food. I have no money. My whole family is hungry. Don't call the police. Don't shoot me."
"When I see him starting crying [those] things, I really feel bad for him," said Sohail. "I say, oh man, this is something different."
Sohail made the man pledge never to rob anybody ever again, then gave the man $40 and a loaf bread. Sohail, who is from Pakistan, said the man then wanted to be a Muslim like him, so he recited an Islamic oath and gave the would-be robber the name Nawaz Sharif Zardari.
Sohail went to get some milk, but when he returned the man had fled with the money and food.
Both Mohammad Sohail and Suffolk County Police<http://topics.edition.cnn.com/topics...ice_Department> have no idea who the man is. After the May incident, Sohail explained that he will "absolutely not" be pressing charges, though police are still investigating the case.
Over the past six months, Sohail's story of sympathy and kindness has inspired many across the country.
The Shirley Express store has received numerous letters of admiration.
"No person has ever moved my spirit the way you did. From your biggest admirer," one letter says. "Great men are capable of great acts. You are a great American," another reads.
He has also received several checks with such messages for "a couple hundred dollars" in total, says Sohail. He has made a point to give this money "to the people" by offering free bagels, rolls and coffee in his store every night after 9 o'clock.
But the envelope that arrived on Wednesday came as a surprise. Postmarked November 11 without a return address, it enclosed a $50 bill and a note apparently from the would-be robber.
The typed letter begins, "You change My Life (sic)," and goes on to say that the man is sorry for his actions six months ago.
"At the time I had No money No food on my table No Job, and nothing for my family. I know that it was wrong, but I had know (sic) choice. I needed to feed My family. When You had That gun to my head I was 100% that I was going to die," reads the letter.
The letter says Sohail's acts inspired him to become a "True Muslim" and that his life has changed dramatically.

"I'm very happy that somebody got to change his life," Sohail said. "If he is a maybe criminal, maybe is not anymore. So now he is a good person in this community and I'm very glad for that. He's staying out of trouble, he's not in a jail, he's taking care of his family."

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01-26-2010, 02:19 PM
Another post from the Muslims Making a Difference series: Climbing Mount Everest

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