In COVID Era, IMAGH’s Socially Distanced Iftaar is One for the Ages

CG Mahajan posed with IMAGH’s Board members, The Alliance executives, and volunteers during Iftaar food distribution.



HOUSTON: Most groups and organizations, which rely on participation by their members or the audience, have been hard hit by the novel Corona virus. About the same time, the multi-video conferencing platform Zoom suddenly burst into the forefront as a means to stay connected and it has been gaining members by leaps and bounds, so much so that other tech firms like Google and Microsoft have launched their own platforms.

But staying visually and audibly connected is one thing. Combining that with a food distribution and other entertainment is quite another. That’s exactly what the Indian Muslims Association of Greater Houston (IMAGH) figured out when they launched the customary public iftaar meal before the conclusion of the days of fasting of Ramadan. They have an equally ambitious Zoom Eid Milan planned for May 30.

They met for days before on Zoom and planned the event to spread the word far and wide, and then, with the help of Chief Development Officer Manisha Gandhi of The Alliance (a United Way Agency), held a distribution of boxed iftaar meals made by from Nirvana restaurant and caterer Mohmmed Mujeeb, at a drive-by in the parking lot of the agency’s building at 6440 Hillcroft in the heart of the Gulfton District.

“This is the densest district in the state,” said Alliance CEO Dan Stoecker, “with a very diverse mix of races and nationalities, including many refugees who start out here first.” As the people streamed in through the scorching hot afternoon of Wednesday, May 18, the 600 boxes of meals and eiddi presents for the kids went by within less than an hour. “For those who had registered for the iftaar but could not make it,” explained IMAGH President Munir Ibrahim, “we have arranged for a couple of vans to drop these off.” All the volunteers were masked and wore gloves, and masks were even handed out to those in cars.Towards the tailend of the event, Indian Consul General Aseem Mahajan arrived, rushing from one event to another, and gave out a few boxes to people who walked-up. He spent time with the IMAGH Board and volunteers, impressed by this, a one-of-a-kind iftaar that has surely made Houston’s history

The Eid bags were laid out to hand out for the kids.
There were two lanes for cars to follow through while picking up the boxed meals.
Volunteers with the boxed lunches from Nirvana restaurant and caterer Mohammed Mujeeb.
The Alliance CEO Dan Stoecker with Chief Development Officer Manisha Gandhi.
Mahajan chatted with the IMAGH Board members in The Alliance lobby after the event ended.