While many around the world view the United States as the land of opportunity, the most recent census report states that 14.5% of Americans, or 45.3 million people, live below the poverty line, and 49.1 million of them live in household that do not have food security. On any given day there is up to 800,000 homeless people in the United States, 200,000 of which are children. Annually it is estimated that 2.3 million Americans are either temporarily or permanently homeless.
We therefore work closely with our chapters nationwide and with community based organizations to provide a range of essential services.
To tackle the growing problem of food insecurity in the US, we are running a number of food programs nationwide. We currently serve over 700 meals a month. As well as our monthly downtown food distributions organized by our chapters, we also undertake semi-annual food drives that stock local Food Banks and support local initiatives such as the Save Haven Program in Northern Virginia, an interfaith initiative where volunteers come together to prepare meals and serve Americans of all faiths and ethnicities.
The high costs of quality medical care make it nearly impossible for impoverished families to receive quality dental care. Even in the most affluent countries, tooth decay is the most chronic disease of childhood and is five times more prevalent than asthma. Symptoms including, chronic toothache, eating complications, difficulty speaking and searing pain from dental abscesses interfere with routine activities in millions of people living in poverty. In the United States alone, socio-economically deprived children are twice as likely to suffer from tooth decay as more affluent children.
Oral disease is the most common non-communicable disease and the impact it has is significant in terms of pain and suffering related to impaired oral function (eating, speech disorders) and chronic toothache resulting in a low quality of life.
As well as regularly distributing oral hygiene supplies to homeless people nationwide, we are working with local community health centers to establish free dental clinics.
As part of our strategy to provide essential services to the communities that support our work, our Peaceful Families Project (PFP) is a national initiative that works towards ending all types of abuse in Muslim families by increasing awareness regarding the dynamics of DV. Through education and training, we seek to promote attitudes and beliefs that emphasize justice, freedom from oppression, and family harmony. As well as facilitating DV awareness workshops in cities across the United States for Muslim leaders and communities, we provide cultural sensitivity trainings for service providers and professionals and conduct research regarding domestic violence in Muslim families.