Holding our hands out for the children
By Mohamed Beydoun | Sunday, 08.21.2011, 07:13 AM

Often we do things because we think they are the right thing to do.  However, when thinking is replaced by knowing, that's when our perspectives on life can change forever.  I thought I understood why I had been serving the renowned and respected Al-Mabarrat organization for almost 4 years—to help and serve orphans.  Then one indelible moment showed me that I could not have been more wrong.  
A year and a half ago, I was given the opportunity to tour Al-Mabarrat's schools and orphanages in Lebanon.  While having lunch with one of the principals, she informed me of the continuous efforts being made to improve services rendered to the orphans at the school.  I asked for a specific example.  
"I'll give you a simple one," she said.  "We used to serve lunch in the cafeteria by way of a lunch line.  The kids would walk down the line with their trays out, and we would serve them food.  Realizing that system was wrong, we changed it to a full service lunch.  The food is now already on the tables when they come in and sit down."  
Puzzled, I asked, "Why is a lunch line wrong?  That's how we all did it."  
"The lunch line is fine for you and I," she replied, "but wrong for the orphans, because the orphan is never supposed to hold his hand out."
And that was it; her simple words literally changed my life.  I came to the profound realization that those whom I thought I was serving were in fact serving me, by providing me with the opportunity to do good works in my short time on earth.  Since then I have carried that moment with me, and I try to infuse that lesson into everything Al-Mabarrat Charitable Organization does.
That is why for our annual fundraising dinner, Al-Mabarrat is proud to hold out its hands so that the orphans do not have to.  Al-Mabarrat provides the community with a unique opportunity: partnering with us in the charitable act of orphan sponsorship and donations by means of khums, sadaqa, zakat, nidher, kafara, and others, all to benefit the most vulnerable of all people — orphans.  I encourage community members to stop by the office at 13723 W. Warren in Dearborn and choose an orphan for sponsorship.  The cost is only $500 per year, or $42 a month.  Sponsors will start receiving progress reports about their orphans.  You can also pick up a donation box that can be conveniently placed in your home, then returned to the office in exchange for an empty one.  You are also welcome to call the office at 313.582.5553 where pick-up and delivery arrangements can be made.  
The annual fundraising dinner this year will be held on Saturday, August 27th at the Islamic Center of America on Ford Road in Dearborn.  We ask everyone to please arrive at 7 pm, as we expect a large turnout this year.  Tickets are a $50 donation.  Al-Mabarrat is a nonprofit tax-exempt 501c3 organization.  All donations are tax deductible.  Al-Mabarrat is registered with the IRS and has a federal tax ID number as well as a State of Michigan solicitation license from the office of the attorney general.  
And while the economic times may be difficult for us, these orphans are always in tough circumstances, and so many of us can afford a little generosity.  So join us in celebrating the true spirit of Ramadan with your entire family.  Ramadan Mubarak! 
The writer is president of Al-Mabarrat USA.

By Mohamed Beydoun

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