Bestway Wholesale, the UK’s largest independent cash and carry, have generously donated hundreds of boxes of mango juice, milk and dates to Catholic charity Jesuit Refugee Service UK in time for the Muslim observance of Ramadan. Many of the refugee friends served by JRS UK are of Muslim faith, so the donation was particularly thoughtful, allowing for special Ramadan packs to be put together, and delivered directly to vulnerable refugees across London.
Following public health guidance around COVID-19, JRS UK have adapted their services taking their Day Centre on the road and are now delivering essential food & toiletry parcels to refugees around London. Last week, Bestway marked the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan by kindly donating 500 litres of Mango Juice, 500 litres of UHT milk, and 500 boxes of dates to the JRS UK centre in Wapping, East London. The donation has made a very significant contribution to these emergency deliveries and to the lives of the destitute refugees accompanied by JRS UK.
The holy month of Ramadan is observed by fasting from food and drink during daylight hours and then, after sunset, breaking the fast with a celebratory meal. Much like the Christian period of Lent, it is a time of prayer, reflection and restraint during which Muslims remember the suffering of those less fortunate, feel closer to God, and break fast with loved ones. A quick source of energy and nutrients, dates are traditionally eaten by Muslims all over the world as they break their daily fast at the time of ‘Iftar’ making Bestway’s kind donation particularly welcome and timely.
Through these special ‘Ramadan packs’ JRS UK has been able to continue its mission of accompaniment to those made destitute by the UK asylum system, while meeting with our sisters and brothers of other faith communities, appreciating their religious heritage, and forging a sense of one ness that goes beyond religion and culture. Dialogue between faiths and cultures is an important element of the mission of the Society of Jesus, the religious order whose charism guides the work of JRS around the world.
Sarah Teather, Director of JRS UK said: “I’m hugely grateful to Bestway for making this very generous donation of dates, milk and fruit juice for our refugee friends during Ramadan. Food distributors are under huge pressure at this time, as they respond to shifting need, often with the virus also affecting their own team. Their kindness and effort in responding to our appeal has really touched our team.
“The refugee friends we support are all struggling with lack of access to food at this time. We are hearing very difficult stories of people going hungry and facing homelessness. Their immigration status and the precarious nature of their accommodation arrangements means they are often missed by government support and mutual aid groups.
“Thanks to the support of volunteers and donors, we have taken our day centre to the road and are managing to get essential food and toiletries out to people in need.
“As a Christian organisation we were very conscious of the pain for us of celebrating Easter without access to the Church’s liturgy and unable to join together with extended family. We feel solidarity with Muslims as they enter Ramadan, conscious that many of the refugee friends we support will have no food to break their fast. We are so grateful to Bestway for their donation so that we can make these special Ramadan packs available.”
The holy month of Ramadan began on Thursday 23rd April and is observed until 23rd May ending with celebrations for the festival of Eid al-Fitr on May 24th.