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In this newsletter: 

  1. Before MY Project USA , "I Was Living In A Bubble!"

  2. Zerqa Abid Shares Her Personal Journey As A Philanthropist

  3. Eid is Coming Soon! Donate to Our Toy Drive!

  4. For $15 Zakat Al Fitr – We Can Feed a Family For a While

  5. Hilltop Tigers Hand Out Nearly 1,000 Meals in March Via MY Iftar Kitchen

  6. MY Project USA Fits 6 out 8 Criteria of Zakat

  7. Trauma Discussion Aids More Than a Dozen During Wedgewood Power Hours

  8. Eat Healthy, Live Healthy – Hispanic Power Hours Event Highlights Better Living

  9. Donate to the Sponsor a Meal and/or the Issa Jeylani Memorial Rec Center Fundraisers

  10. Download Our Latest Annual Report

  11. Shopping at Global Gifts & Thrift Changes Lives

  12. Helpline: Rent & Utilities Support Information for Clients

  13. MY Deah's Warehouse Donation Bins Locations

Letter From Ramy El-Assal: 

Before MY Project USA , "I Was Living In A Bubble!"

This organization provided me the unique opportunity to have such a significant impact at a young age.

As part of an immigrant family, when we think about those who are struggling, our minds often gravitate to those very countries we had immigrated from, whether it be Syria, Egypt, Afghanistan or Pakistan among many others. 

It isn't often that we think that our own neighbors and communities are struggling, and I, like many others, fell into this trap of "living in a bubble," thinking that just because my family wasn't struggling, those around me surely aren't struggling. 

While we must continue to focus on supporting charity work overseas, it is equally vital that we remember our community members struggling right here in our own neighborhoods.

When I joined MY Project USA a little more than two years ago to manage the pantry program, I saw every day just how much support our young brothers and sisters – a mere 20 minutes away from my college dorm – needed. During one of my first weeks, I was helping load food into an elderly woman's car, and as we were chatting, she showed me a photo of her children on her phone. Before I could ask, she told me that while her life will continue to be full of challenges, she wanted us to know that because of us, she won't have to helplessly watch as her children tell her, "I'm hungry."  

While our services change the trajectory of people's lives, it is essential to acknowledge that these community members and this organization have helped me as much, if not even more, than I support them. Whenever I find myself tired, exhausted or lazy, I think about the inspiring stories and resilience I have seen from our pantry families to remind myself of why I work hard in the first place. 

The lessons I have learned, the friends I've made and the aura of inclusion here are worth all the sweat and hours invested here.

And finally, it is easy to get so caught up in the fast-paced environment at MY Project USA that you forget about how much you have learned. This organization provided me the unique opportunity to have such a significant impact at a young age. As a freshman, I never would have expected to find myself learning how to manage a nonprofit food pantry, but before I knew it, I found myself fluently overseeing employees, traveling to Washington D.C., engaging in public speaking, writing human resources policies, managing budgets with more money than I could ever wish to have and so much more. I am given the space to learn, fail, get better and continue to improve my leadership skills as I become the strongest leader I possibly can be. 

As I push forward in my professional life, MY Project USA has taught me to no longer be afraid to be an outspoken supporter and leader in our community, and I am excited to see where life takes me next. 

For all of the above and more reasons, I implore you to give your zakat and other charity to MY Project USA so we can continue helping more families and empowering more youth like myself.

With Love,
Ramy El-Assal

Mid-Ohio Market Program Director & BoD Secretary

Ramadan Happenings:

"This is God's Project, I know It Will Be Funded. Question Is Who Among You Will Be Wise Enough To Make It Your Legacy Too" ~ Zerqa Abid

Interfaith Iftar Inspires Crowd to Donate to Help MY Project USA’s Initiatives

Fundraising for Issa Jeylani Memorial Recreation Center Begins 

More than 200 people attended MY Project USA’s 9th Annual Columbus Interfaith Iftar & Fundraiser on Sunday, April 2, with all of those in attendance moved by inspiring speakers. 

Thousands of dollars were raised to help MY Project USA continue its hard work on the west side of Columbus. Founder & Executive Director Zerqa Abid served as the host of the program and gave a motivational speech during which she told her story of activism and why she has chosen to invest her time, money and energy to the Wedgewood area. Those in attendance also got an update on the progress of the Issa Jeylani Memorial Recreation Center.  

Sharmarke & Mukumbira, Hilltop Tigers Champion Receive The Most Resilient Youth Awards

Hilltop Tigers players Sharmarke Abdi & Mukumbira Mukumbira were both recognized during the event with The Most Resilient Youth Awards, honors the pair were awarded in November during MY Project USA's annual banquet but were unable to attend to receive their plaques.

MY Project USA would love to thank all of those who donated money, purchased tickets and attended the event and especially those who gave speeches. In addition to Abid’s speeches, Justin Abdurrahman Wood (pictured above), Youth Director for the Noor Islamic Cultural Center; Dr. Waqas Nawaz, physician and Vice President of CAPA Ohio (Community Association of Pakistani Americans of Central Ohio); and the honorable Monica Hawkins, Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Judge all inspired the crowd with their words.

We would also like to thank Ohio State Senator Hearcel F. Craig, Ohio State Reps. Dr. Anita Somani and Munira Abdullahi and all of the rest of the elected officials who attended the event. MY Project USA would also like to thank our friends and partners from CAPA Ohio, Noor Islamic Cultural Center, Alianza 614, Turkish American Society of Ohio (TASO) and all of the other organizations who had representatives in attendance.

We remain so very thankful for the village we have created.

Ramadan Happenings:

Eid is Coming Soon! Donate to Our Toy Drive!
No Needy Child Should Go Empty-Handed This Eid

Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan in late April. It is a joyous occasion for Muslims around the world, but right here in central Ohio there are thousands of children within our refugee community who do not receive any gifts or toys on the Day of Eid. 

With your help, we can change that!

Our goal this year is to distribute at least 2,500 toys and gifts and 750 goody bags. Please sign up now and help us continue to make this a successful event. You can bring toys or donate money. 

Once sign up, you will need to bring wrapped gifts to the Hilltop Youth Empowerment Center (3275 Sullivant Ave.) on Saturday, April 15. 

After you sign up or donate, please share it with others. Make this a happy Eid for every kid!

Ramadan Happenings:

For $15 Zakat Al Fitr – We Can Feed a Family For a While

Zakat al Fitr is a mandatory charity for wealthy Muslims to give out before offering the Eid prayers.

This Eid, MY Project USA would like to amplify your Zakat to help feed over 300 families this Ramadan.

You can put smiles on the faces of a family in need this holy month. Help us make this Eid pantry the best yet! Donations can only be accepted through Wednesday, April 19.

With just a $15 contribution, we can distribute the following on your behalf to one family:

  • 22 oz. of Vegetable Oil
  • 10 lb of Rice
  • 3 lb of Spaghetti
  • 5 lb of Flour
  • 4 lb of Sugar

If you are unable to donate at this time, please consider sharing our fundraiser on Facebook! Small acts like this can go a long way in assisting our mission.

Other Ways to Pay:

  • Pay By Check: Please make checks payable to MY Project USA and send them to 3275 Sullivant Ave. Columbus, OH 43204
  • You can pay on our website here: MYProjectUSA.org/donors
  • Zelle Direct Deposit ID: info@myprojectusa.org
  • Venmo ID: MYProjectUSA

Please email us at info@myprojectusa.org if you have any questions or comments about your donations to MY Project USA.

Ramadan Happenings:

Volunteers Hand Out Nearly 1,000 Meals in March Via MY Iftar Kitchen
We Still Need Your Help During the Rest of Ramadan

MY Project USA handed out approximately 120 meals per day during the first week of MY Iftar Kitchen.

We are so very appreciative of our awesome volunteers, who allowed us to hand out approximately 960 meals through the end of March. A special thank you goes to our Hilltop Tigers leaders Sharmarke Abdi and Mukumbira Mukumbira, who did much of the work during the first week. You both provide a great example for our youth!

We still need volunteers for the rest of Ramadan. MY Project USA will continue to deliver delicious food to local elderly and needy in Columbus. We will receive, pack and distribute food at our Hilltop Youth Empowerment Center at 3275 Sullivant Ave. Volunteers can either help bring cooked food or donate money so we can order food to feed the needy. 

Please help any way you can. Any amount is greatly appreciated!

You may donate money online at MYProjectUSA.org/donors. If you have any questions, please call (614) 905-0977

Remaining Weekly Sign Ups:
Week 3: April 6-12 - http://ow.ly/eVw550NkmTT
Week 4: April 13-18 - http://ow.ly/VzhN50NkmME

Ramadan Happenings:

MY Project USA Fits 6 out 8 Criteria of Zakat

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.

Community Development: 

Trauma Discussion Aids More Than a Dozen During Wedgewood Power Hours

More than a dozen people were on hand Friday afternoon during the latest Wedgewood Power Hours event for a discussion about trauma.

Led by Octavia Mercado from the Columbus CARE Coalition, there was a discussion on how to turn trauma informed care into trauma responsive care; ways to utilize trauma responsive care strategies to build resiliency with children, adults and communities; and the role the Columbus CARE Coalition has in the community. We thank Octavia for her time and efforts in helping the 17 men, women and children from Wedgewood who attended the event.

Wedgewood Community Power Hours are sponsored by a grant from the Franklinton Development Association. We remain grateful to the Wedgewood Administration for their support over the years.

Thank you to MY Project USA’s Sami Omerzai and Noorullah Khan Shinwari and Wedgewood Manager Hakima Cheik for their hard work putting together these events.

Community Development: 

Eat Healthy, Live Healthy – Hispanic Power Hours Event Highlights Better Living

MY Project USA, in partnership with Alianza 614, hosted the latest Hispanic Community Power Hours event on Thursday at the Hilltop Youth Empowerment Center.

Nora Heese of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences led an informative session on the benefits of healthy eating and staying active. More than a dozen men, women and children took part in exercises and learned more about healthy cooking.

MY Project USA would like to thank our partner, Alianza 614, for their support, as well as thank the Franklinton Development Association for their funding. MY Project USA would also like to give a shoutout to our awesome Director of Community Development Sami Omerzai and Noorullah Khan Shinwari.

MY Helpline:
Rent & Utilities Support Available At MY Project USA

We have been working very hard in securing grants and building collaboration with other partners to help our clients. Thanks to The Columbus Foundation, United Way of Central Ohio, and IMPACT Community Action, we are still able to help more of our families with their rent and utilities. If you or someone you know needs help, please ask them to contact us at (614) 905-0977 or helpadmin@myprojectusa.org.

MY Deah's Warehouse: 
8 Locations In Columbus To Drop Off Donations - Truck Pick Up Available For Large Donations

You can now drop off your donations of new and gently used clothes, shoes, books, toys and other small non-breakable items in a donation box near you. These locations include: 

  • Noor Islamic Cultural Center -  5001 Wilcox Rd. Dublin 43016
  • Masjid Nimrah - 4501 Refugee Rd. Columbus, OH 43232
  • MAS Youth Center - 4615 Northtowne Blvd. Columbus, OH. 43229
  • Turkish American Society of Ohio (TASO) - 2885 W. Dublin Granville Rd. Columbus, OH 43235
  • Ahlul Bayt Society - 2580 W. Dublin Granville Rd. Columbus, OH 43235
  • The First Congregational Church - 444 E. Broad St. Columbus, OH 43215
  • MY Deah's Warehouse - 4004 Fondorf Dr. Columbus, OH 43228. (Business Hours Only)
  • Global Gifts & Thrift - 4730 Cemetery Rd. Hilliard, OH 43206. (Business Hours Only)

We are looking for more locations. If interested in helping us or have any other questions, please contact us at warehouse@myprojectusa.org.


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

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