The 3 Imams Project arrived in Puerto Rico today and the project was blessed immediately. We had rented a mini van and upon arriving to the car rental they informed us that they did not have a van available, but that they could give us a SUV. We told them, “We will take it even though we preferred the van.” As this process was taking place, I was speaking with the lady who was doing our paperwork and she was telling me how bad things were during and after Hurricane María.
During this time, Imam Yusuf Rios was speaking to the bag concierge, who was also informing the Imam of how gas prices have taken an extreme hike. The lady with whom I spoke was shocked that we were Muslims because of the beautiful character she immediately saw and experienced (Masha’Allah). She informed me that the Muslims she had met previously always seemed to have a poor attitude, similar to her neighbor who is also a Muslim, but she was happy to see that we came full of smiles, respect, and kindness.
Once we went to pick up the SUV, we saw a cargo van parked outside. I ran back inside and asked if we could rent that one instead and the very sweet lady who had assisted us said, “Absolutely!” and she left it to us for the same price (Alhamdulillah). We then jumped into the van and headed towards the CVS (in Carolina), whose manager has been amazing during this relief process. The store manager had all of our items processed and ready. We had preordered:
1. 1000 bags of rice
2. 1000 cans of tuna
3. 1000 bags of pasta
4. 1000 boxes of farina
5. 500 boxes of milk
6. 250 gallons of Clorox
7. 150 cases of water
The store manager had been in contact with me while we were still in the States assuring us that the order would be ready upon arrival. They immediately helped us load the van and after it was loaded we took everything to Casa Taller where they are being stored. We will use that location to load daily. When we arrived at Casa Taller, the volunteers there, along with the youth, came out and began quickly unloading the van. It was a beautiful feeling to experience working together for Puerto Rico and its people. Sugeily Rodriguez Lebrón and Casa Taller have been key in connecting us with their grassroots work with various community kitchens throughout the island. These community kitchens serve either breakfast, lunch, or dinner on different days, serving hundreds of people. The work they are doing is amazing.
Through this connection, we will serve many of these community kitchens on this trip and we will share that experience with all of you insha’Allah. We are thankful to God, thankful to all who are collaborating, thankful to the donors, and thankful to all the workers for such a beautiful effort for Puerto Rico and our people.
This evening ended by sitting with the volunteers at Casa Taller where they cook dinner daily for all involved in the various projects. After dinner is ready and prepared by the cook of the day from the various volunteers who have signed up for this task, they all sit around the table together to eat and partake in dinner together like a family/community. They share the food that is grown on their premises, while building on ideas, sharing experiences, joking, and laughing together, thereby bringing a beautiful sense of community that many are longing for during this critical time. This is the Puerto Rico and the Puerto Ricans we want the world to know.
May God continue to bless the efforts.
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