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In this newsletter: 

  1. Serving Others at MY Project USA Allows Matthew Hager to Find That Special Feeling Again

  2. Lack of Donations Won't Stop MY Project USA's Eid Toy Drive

  3. Thank You! Your Zakat al-Fitr Donations Will Feed 350 Families!

  4. Volunteers Needed for Final Days of MY Iftar Kitchen

  5. MY Project USA is Zakat-Eligible! Help Your Neighbors

  6. Leaders Emerging at Wedgewood Village Apartments, MY Project USA is Ready to Help!

Letter from MY Project USA Staffer:

Serving Others at MY Project USA Allows Matthew Hager to Find That Special Feeling Again

For me, joining MY Project USA was about that feeling in the pit of my stomach.

That feeling is not easy to describe unless you’ve experienced it, but once you do, you cannot forget it. And when you no longer feel it, you miss it terribly.

In my case, the feeling isn’t about religion – I’m not a religious person. It isn’t about money or status or anything material, either. It is that feeling I get when I feel like I am making a difference, when I feel like I am doing something that actually matters.

MY Project USA has allowed me to feel that feeling again.

My name is Matthew Hager, and I’m the Communications Specialist for MY Project USA. I have been fortunate enough to work in journalism in my past, and for nearly 15 years I did experience that feeling mentioned above. Then, after leaving journalism and going into the corporate world, I lost it – and desperately missed it.

That is the main reason I was interested in joining MY Project USA when I first saw the opening for a Communications Specialist. I wanted to be a part of something more important than what I was doing in the corporate world. I felt like I needed to find a purpose of some sort, and after meeting with MY Project USA Founder & Executive Director Zerqa Abid and all of the staff and volunteers here, I knew this was the spot for me.

Fortunately, Zerqa agreed!

I’ve only been at MY Project USA since late January, but this is already the most rewarding job I’ve had. Every day is different and, while some days are difficult, they all involve me working toward a greater good. The people at MY Project USA all work incredibly hard to make the lives of our clients better. It takes a lot of hard work and a lot of effort. But the reward – that feeling – is well worth it.

My wish for everyone is to find that feeling for themselves. The underserved communities we serve on the west side of Columbus need help, and MY Project USA offers many ways for people to get involved. Volunteer your time. Donate money to all of our worthy initiatives.

Bring that feeling into your life.

Matthew Hager
Communications Specialist, MY Project USA

Ramadan Happenings: 

Lack of Donations Won't Stop MY Project USA's Eid Toy Drive

It's Not Too Late to Make It a Happy Eid for Every Kids!

Unfortunately, MY Project USA has not received enough toys for Wedgewood's Muslim children this year. Monetary donations are also very low. Therefore, we can only manage one new gift/toy and one goody bag per family instead of a gift and a goody bag per child.

We will be bringing used toys from our warehouse and cleaning them early next week to pass them along with the new gifts to supplement the lack of donations as best we can.

It breaks our hearts, but it is what it is. We will try to do whatever we can to make it work.

In the meantime, if anyone would like to send last minute donations, it is not too late. If you donate money to our Eid Toys Drive by Sunday night, we will be able to purchase more toys off Amazon that will arrive in time to be distributed.

Any and all help is appreciated.

Ramadan Happenings: 

Thank You! Your Zakat al-Fitr Donations Will Feed 350 Families!

Wonderful news! MY Project USA has reached its fundraising goal for our Zakat al-Fitr campaign. Thanks to the generation of our donors and the Noor Islamic Cultural Center, we are finalizing purchases that will feed 350 families this Ramadan.

As of now, we are no longer accepting Zakat al-Fitr donations. If you have not yet paid your Zakat al-Fitr, please donate to our friends at the Noor Islamic Center.

Ramadan Happenings: 

Volunteers Needed for Final Days of MY Iftar Kitchen

MY Project USA Has Distributed Nearly 3,000 Meals So Far!

Thanks to the help of some wonderful volunteers, including Hilltop Tigers coach Mohamed “Speedy” Ahmed and players Sharmarke Abdi and Mukumbira Mukumbira, MY Project USA has been able to deliver approximately 120 meals to the needy each day during Ramadan.

Through Saturday, April 15, the total number of meals delivered is approximately 2,760. We are so very thankful to be able to continue this project each year, and it is not possible without our volunteers who bring food, help pack meals and/or help deliver the food across the west side of Columbus. We are also very thankful to all of those who have donated money to help make MY Iftar Kitchen a reality.

We still have open slots for volunteers through the end of this year’s MY Iftar Kitchen, which will conclude on Tuesday, April 18. Please volunteer if possible!

Ramadan Happenings: 

MY Project USA is Zakat-Eligible! Help Your Neighbors

MY Project USA is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization. We serve local refugees, orphans, slaves, victims of abuse and other needy and poor neighbors in the Columbus and Dayton areas in Ohio. We are Zakat-eligible because it falls into six of the eight categories of Zakat as commanded by Allah SWT in the following verse of Quran.

“Zakat expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect (zakah) and for bringing hearts together (for Islam) and for freeing captives (or slaves) and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the (stranded) traveler – and obligation (imposed) by Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.” (Quran 9:60)

• MY Project USA Fits 6 of 8 Criteria of Zakat •

  • Categories No. 1 & 2: “for poor and for the needy” – This applies because we are helping poor local and refugee Muslim families.
  • Category No. 4: “bringing hearts together” – This applies because we serve all needy people regardless of their faith, ethnicity or race. We also work with individuals that are attracted to Island and Muslims and prefer working with us to learn more.
  • Category No. 5: “freeing captives” – This applies because we are addressing human trafficking, the modern-day slavery, prevention and intervention. Our focus is to free sex slaves from bondage and help them reestablish a life of their own.
  • Category No. 6: “paying the debt” – This applies because we take care of families, single moms and family violence victims dealing with debts and financial instability.
  • Category No. 7: “the cause of Allah” – This applies because we are protecting and empowering Muslim youth and families in America. Through our work, we are addressing drugs, gangs, violence, suicides, radicalization, homelessness and hunger through capacity-building of the individuals and the community. Through the documentation and publicity of our work, we week to address Islamophobia as well. Our goal is to preserve Islam and Muslim communities in America at its best.
MY Project USA in the News: 

Leaders Emerging at Wedgewood Village Apartments, MY Project USA is Ready to Help!

Group Working on Next Event – Unity Party & Eid Celebration

A group of residents of Wedgewood Village Apartments is hard at work trying to bring the community together. MY Project USA has been honored to help them in any way we can.

Recently, the group partnered with MY Project USA on an "Easter Egg-A-Palooza" event on Saturday, April 8. The event was a big success, and NBC 4 even came to do a story on the event and the group's efforts.

The group has been working with MY Project USA Founder & Executive Director Zerqa Abid, Director of Community Development Sami Omerzai and other staffers on their next event for residents at Wedgewood Village – a "Spring Into CommUNITY Party" that will also serve as an Eid celebration for the Muslim residents.


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MY Project USA
3275 Sullivant Ave | Columbus, Ohio  43204
614-905-0977 | info@myprojectusa.org

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