USF students and faculty fast to raise funds for charity
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11/11/10 Andrea Lypka
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Go hungry for a day so another won't have to- this was the pledge some USF students and faculty took when they participated to the Fast- A-Thon organized by the Muslim Students Association at USF on November 10. This year, the event raised more than $5,000 for charity. The funds were donated to a local food pantry, a free health care clinic and for flood victims in Pakistan.

No food, no water for 12 hours for a good cause - this was the pledge that student Avan Aziz, the president of the Muslim Students Association from the Florida State University took for the day.

“I think it is important for other Muslim students to show support for other Muslims’ efforts when trying to combine diversity, culture and religion in one night,” she said.

The message of Fast-A-Thon resonated with journalism student Taghrid Alrajoula.

“Especially now, in this economy a lot of people go to sleep hungry… It’s really important to put yourself in other people’s shoes and to spread the Muslim principle of charity,” Alrajoula said.

Tarek El Messidi, one of the co-founders of Fast- A-Thon said that the number of the homeless and the hungry is increasing.

“Worldwide, 80 percent of the humanity lives on less than $10 a day,” El Messidi said in his speech during the Fast-A-Thon fundraiser dinner.

These statistics prompted El Messidi to take Fast-A-Thon to the next level and help fight hunger all over the world.

“For everyone who fasts or pledges to fast for a day a local business donates about two dollars and all that money is pulled together at the end of the day and given to local food pantry to help feed the hungry. Everyone breaks fast together at sunset time,” El Messidi said.

The annual fundraiser is organized by universities nationwide. Organizers say that Fast-A-Thon is more than a charity event. It is also a celebration of diversity and culture.

“It was started by Muslim students soon after 9/11. So not only does it help to raise the money to feed the hungry, but it really helps dispel the stereotypes about Muslims in America. There is a lot of misunderstanding. Should we be afraid of Muslims? The Fast-A-Thon shows that we are normal, charity giving and productive citizens of this country,” he said.

Fifty percent of the USF’s Fast-A-Thon donations go to help the Pakistani flood relief victims and the other half of the donations funds Project Downtown in Tampa and the Red Crescent Clinic. Their next fundraising event, Project Downtown - Poetic Vision Tour Tampa is at USF on November 14. Profits from this event go to Project Downtown in Tampa.

Muslim Students Association

Project Downtown

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