The Iowa State Muslim Student Association is currently offering a new program dubbed the Community Help Program.
The Muslim Student Association’s Community Help Program aims to help students who are having difficult times through its three initiatives — taking students to grocery stores, a monthly trip to Minnesota that mostly revolves around Muslim students seeking halal foods and professional and social development help to assist multicultural and international students to acclimate to unfamiliar social and professional environments.
“Due to the situation and limited CyRide services and people not being comfortable with public transport, we decided maybe if enough people had vehicles and enough time, we can help students,” said Mahmoud Gshash, a graduate student in electrical and computer engineering.
Gshash serves as the Muslim Student Association’s fundraising coordinator. For the time being, the program is self-driven and has no funding but hopes its volunteers and members would be generous enough to come out of their own pockets rather than seek reimbursement for things like gas.
“Muslims, non-Muslims, we would like to help as many people as possible with our resources,” Gshash said.
With sights set on expanding the new program, the Muslim Student Association wants to responsibly expand in a way that will not let people down. Currently with three volunteers including Gshash himself, the program offers its services on Fridays and aims for an average of five to six people helped per volunteer.
“Our goals are two things: to provide a valuable service [and] make people understand that we [are] not just a religious entity,” Gshash said. “It’s something that reflects Islamic values of community health.”
Aiming to prove itself, the Muslim Student Association already has future plans for expanding the program based on their planned success. Planned for next semester, the Muslim Student Association plans on helping students move. For the time being, the program would be only for its members to help work out any kinks in the program, but it hopes to extend it further like all the other programs.
The Muslim Student Association is currently seeking out more volunteers for the program. To volunteer, you can reach out to Muslim Student Association President Azeez Idris via email at email@example.com or Gshash at firstname.lastname@example.org.