Generosity at Dawn: Volunteers Provide Suhoor to Relatives of Hospital Patients

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For over a decade, traders in Mumbai’s Parel neighbourhood have been ensuring that relatives of patients in government hospitals don’t go hungry during Ramadan.

Mohammad Alamullah | Clarion India

NEW DELHI — In the heart of Parel, a neighbourhood in Mumbai, where the bustling city life often overshadows quiet acts of kindness, a tradition has quietly flourished for the past 12 years. During the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, volunteers rally together to provide suhoor – the pre-dawn meal – to relatives of patients in government hospitals.

The initiative was born out of a simple question from a concerned relative outside a hospital in Parel over a decade ago. Faced with the absence of food options during suhoor time in the area, some traders took it upon themselves to ensure that no one went hungry during this sacred time of fasting.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, one of the volunteers said: “Our motive has always been to serve for the sake of Allah, without seeking any recognition.” However, he acknowledged the importance of spreading the word so that those in need are aware of the free suhoor service available to them.

The genesis of this noble endeavour dates back to 2012 when a friend, noticing the absence of open eateries during suhoor, realised the plight of patients’ relatives struggling to arrange meals. This realisation prompted the group to begin delivering free suhoor to hospitals, starting with a humble quantity of curry that could feed a handful of people.

What began with a small group of 5 to 7 individuals has now grown to get the support of around 50 to 60 volunteers who selflessly dedicate their time and resources to ensure the success of this initiative. Remarkably, no external funds are solicited for this work, with volunteers pooling their resources to cover the expenses.

Over the years, the scale of the operation has expanded significantly, with this year’s suhoor catering to an estimated 900 to 1,000 people. The beneficiaries of this generosity extend beyond the economically disadvantaged, encompassing patients’ relatives, students, and anyone in need during the early hours of the morning.

The central location of Parel, home to several government hospitals such as KEM, Tata, and Wadia, facilitates the smooth delivery of suhoor to those in need. Additionally, the spirit of inclusivity is evident as volunteers extend their generosity to anyone seeking sustenance during this time, regardless of their background or circumstances.

While most volunteers hail from South Mumbai, their dedication transcends geographical boundaries, resonating with the ethos of compassion and service ingrained in the community. Utilising private properties for food preparation, volunteers ensure that the tradition of providing suhoor continues seamlessly year after year.

As the sun rises over Parel, illuminating the city with its golden rays, the spirit of generosity and compassion embodied by these volunteers shines even brighter. In a world often fraught with division and discord, their selfless acts serve as a beacon of hope, reminding us of the transformative power of kindness and solidarity.

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