For the past 12 years Sabeel Food Pantry and American Muslims for Activism and Learning (AMAL) have teamed up to bring turkeys to the families of the students at Emmett Till Academy on the south side of Chicago. Through the generous contributions of members of our community, we have successfully been able to give out hundreds of turkeys to families who would otherwise not have them on their tables. Last year marked the 12 year anniversary of the drive and we were successful in distributing 750 turkeys to these families. This year we hope to exceed that goal and raise enough to provide 1000 turkeys, but we'll need your help.
contribute to our cause and help us raise enough money to provide 1000 turkeys to needy families this Thanksgiving
The cost of each turkey is only $15...Dr. Jihad Shoshara
The Turkey Drive began in 2001 when a Hyde Park-based activist by the name of Kamran Memon approached the staff of a nearby public school and asked, 'Do you think there would be a need for donated turkeys this Thanksgiving?'
The staff of McCosh Elementary (now Emmett Till Academy) in Jackson Park replied with an enthusiastic 'yes!' The neighborhood had seen its share of hard times over the years, with over 90% of its students below the federal poverty line according to Chicago Public School statistics. Memon then sought donations from friends and family and that year bought 188 turkeys from the local supermarket which the school distributed to its students.
From those humble beginnings, the Turkey Drive has become a cherished institution, having distributed over 6,000 free turkeys at Thanksgiving. Every year, Sabeel Food Pantry works with local coordinators to fundraise and purchase 500 turkeys for distribution at the school. Four years ago, the drive added a second distribution site in Marquette Park, partnering with the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) to distribute an additional 250 turkeys to families in need.
The cost of each turkey is only $15 - yet these turkeys often represent the only way many families can have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner during these tough times.
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Keep scrolling to view some recent press on the turkey drive, view our video about the drive and take a look at some pictues from past drives.
Brothers Bilal Evans and Rafi Peterson (to the right) from IMAN in discussion before the turkeys arrive
Turkey drive co-coordinator Jihad Shoshara with Emmett Till Academy principal Charles Asiyanbi
Members of the Union Lodge #155 of the Free & Accepted Masons - partners in the Turkey Drive - helping to distribute turkeys to recipients
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