Muslim Community Members, Syrian Refugees to Give Out Supplies to Homeless

“These folks know what it means to suffer and they really want to give back.”

This weekend, local Muslims—including some Syrian refugees—will gather to give out supplies and offer services to the homeless.

The 10th annual Day of Dignity will be held all day on November 5 at the Millionair Club in Belltown. Volunteers will give out hundreds of sleeping bags (to protect against hypothermia, a serious problem for many homeless people), hygiene supplies, rain gear, jackets and other warm clothing, and free lunch. UW medical student volunteers will also be on hand to offer basic health services, including dental screening, check ups for BMI, blood pressure, health education, and information about medical insurance.

It’s the largest Muslim charity event in Seattle, and it’s held a few weeks before Thanksgiving to address the lull in services for the homeless between October and November, before Christmas season picks things up again, according to Aziz Junejo, a local Muslim TV show host who’s helped organize the event for the past 10 years.

“It’s just a way Muslims are trying to reach out and give back,” says Junejo.

Organizers expect to help between 300 and 500 people this year, and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray will attend. According to Junejo, Murray reached out and made plans to attend following the nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida on June 12, in an effort to come out and meet the Muslim community.

According to a press release, the event is paid for by donations from individuals as well as 20 local mosques and Islamic community centers.

Last year, Junejo said, a lot of homeless veterans showed up to the event. Some greeted volunteers with the Muslim greeting “Assalamu Alaikum” (Peace be upon you), which they learned from their service in Iraq or Afghanistan. This year, organizers expect even more homeless veterans to show up. To help this population, organizers this year partnered with the Washington Department of Veterans.

Every year, volunteers for the Day of Dignity have delivered additional supplies for the homeless where they’re most needed, to supplement the giveaways at the Millionair Club, starting in the early years with giveaways at the Nickelseville homeless encampment. This year, through word of mouth, organizers have learned that many homeless veterans might not be able to make it to the Millionair Club, and so they plan to drop off around 35 bags of gear and supplies at the Department of Veteran Affairs on Monday.

A few recently arrived Syrian refugees will be among the volunteers serving on Saturday. Syrian refugees have been helping out at the Day of Dignity for the past few years, Junejo says, and there are parallels between them and the city’s homeless. Many of the refugees are also struggling, and “are basically arriving here with just the clothes on their back,” he said. “These folks know what it means to suffer and they really want to give back.”

More in News & Comment

Ruling in Seattle Is Likely to Reunite Many Refugee Families

The U.S. District Court decision brings back a process that has helped approximately 2,500 families each year.

Westin Hotel workers hold up signs in support of housekeepers’ rights. Photo by Hannah Long-Higgins
The Office of Labor Standards Sets Plan for Implementation of the Hotel Worker Law

It has been more than a year since the law was approved by voters.

Photo by Visitor7/Wikimedia
State Legislature
Washington Renters’ Protections May Be On the Way

New legislation could make it harder for tenants to be evicted.

While the new Navigation Center is the recommended choice of the Navigation Team, it’s unclear how effective their efforts have been. File photo
Should the City Expand Its Homeless Outreach?

The Navigation Team was created to ease the impact of encampment clean-ups, but its growth is on hold as some question its effectiveness.

The Post Exchange and Gymnasium building is one of many structures remaining from Fort Lawton’s past. Photo by Wonderlane/Flickr
As Plans for Fort Lawton Move Forward, a New School Appears Less Likely

The former Army base could ease the city’s low-income housing shortage or school overcrowding. It just probably can’t do both.

Sam’s Club Locations in Auburn, Renton, Seattle Abruptly Close

The move comes after the company announced plans to increase worker pay and benefits.

Judge Rules Seattle Is in Compliance with Consent Decree

The news ushers in a two-year monitoring period in which the city can’t slip up.

For Opponents of a Carbon Tax, an Initiative Threat Looms

If legislators don’t act on the governor’s legislation, a plan could land on the November ballot.

Inslee: ‘It’s Our State’s Destiny … to Fight Climate Change’

In his State-of-the-State address, the governor made the case for an ambitious carbon tax.

Most Read