RICHMOND, Va. — As the partial government shutdown entered its 33rd day, two Richmond-area Muslim community groups gathered to support the hundreds of Richmond International Airport TSA workers who had been working without pay for more than 5 weeks.
Bearing boxes of pizza, snacks, fruit and beverages as well as WalMart giftcards, members of the West-end Islamic Center (WEIC) , and Islamic Center of Richmond (ICR) arrived at the airport on Thursday determined to help fill stomachs and feed morale.
Organizer Fahad Sadiq said that the groups were inspired by similar actions to support furloughed workers taken by organizations across the country.
“We were checking the news and saw other people organizing similar things in areas like in Myrtle Beach and Washington D.C., so the idea came from the media,” Sadiq said. “”That’s why we want our story to be published, because we want more people to continue to come forward.”
Sadiq and fellow organizers raised funds through talking with the community during nightly prayer as well as advertising on their community websites.
And it didn’t take long for the funds to pour in – the groups raised enough money for 50 WalMart giftcards in $25 denominations as well as a lunch array featuring hot pizza, boxes of snacks, beverages, and desserts.
“They were super happy,” Sadiq said. “They were very thankful that not only us but other communities are coming forward. When I was talking to them they said they had breakfast, lunch and dinner cooked by other people as well.”
On Friday, President Trump agreed to reopen the government for three weeks while negotiations continue over the question of how to secure the nation’s border with Mexico.