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The Student News Site of St. Charles North High School


The Student News Site of St. Charles North High School


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MSA collaborates with Islamic Relief USA to pack meals for those in need

Magen Kranz
MSA and their 71 volunteers band together to pack over 20,000 meals

After just one year of being a reinstated club at North, Muslim Students Association has already begun taking major steps towards their ultimate goal of celebrating culture and giving back to those in need. 

MSA hosted their first volunteer event on Jan. 20 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in North’s cafeteria, packing meals for families in local communities in need of food. The club partnered with Islamic Relief USA, an organization dedicated to combatting hunger and poverty in the United States. In under three hours, the 71 attending volunteers packed a total of 21,816 meals. 

Since achieving pilot status at North last year, MSA has been focused on making an impact on local and international communities through fundraisers and volunteer projects. 

“Muslim Students Association isn’t like an honor society where we’re forced to do service, but in [Islam] one of the pillars of the religion is charity and service,” said sophomore Nour Belhandouz, MSA president. “We thought it was really important to do something this year that incorporated service.”

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MSA invited members of various organizations and mosques within North and the local community to participate in this opportunity to volunteer. 

“We worked with Project Peace, with NHS and we reached out to Key Club as well, so we worked with those different organizations to get volunteers and so we also reached out to local mosques in the area. So we had a lot of different people signing up to help with the event,” said Katherine Dickson, MSA adviser. 

Many MSA members were impressed with how smoothly and successfully the project went. 

“We had three hours set aside for the meal packing event, and we finished packing all meals in two hours,” said Dickson. “We were really thrilled with the effectiveness of the event.”

Not only did the event result in a major success of over 20,000 meals packed and a large turnout of volunteers, but it was also successful in terms of providing a sense of unity between different members of the community. 

“[This event] matters because I think that it just brings a sense of community together for a good cause. I feel like it can be seen as a bonding event for many students of different clubs to work together,” said Belhandouz. 

Dickson credits the success of this project to the driven students involved in MSA. 

“I’m so impressed with the students because you could really see their desire to share their passion and their religion with others,” said Dickson. “Seeing all of them come together and make this happen and their excitement and passion was wonderful to see.”

Members of MSA pose for photo at food packing event (Saima Jalal)

Members of MSA hope to expand on projects like this in the future, intending to further their impact as much as possible.

“We know we have the desire to help, so we’re hoping next year maybe we could double that goal. Maybe we go for our goal being 100 volunteers and 40,000 meals,” said Dickson. “I think we can do bigger and better things next year, so we’re really excited.”

Reflecting on this event as one of their first major attempts to volunteer and give to charity, and upon how far they’ve come as a club, many MSA members believe this event altered their perspective on the kind of impact they can have on those around them. 

“I think [the event] showed me that MSA can be something more than just meeting in a room every Tuesday,” said sophomore Javeria Hasan, MSA treasurer. “It showed that we can actually accomplish something as a new club, and that even though we’re a small amount of people, we can do something big.”

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About the Contributors
Tess Arendt, Features Editor
Tess is a staff writer for the Stargazer. She is a Sophomore and serving as this year's Features Editor, this is her second year on staff. Tess engages in student journalism because she enjoys writing and keeping her peers informed.
Magen Kranz, Arts and Culture Editor
Magen is a staff writer for the Stargazer, this year she serves as our Arts and Culture Editor. She is a sophomore and this is her second year on staff. Magen engages in student journalism because she enjoys working with her peers to create stories about our wonderful school.

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