Muslim family fed others every day while fasting for Ramadan

      Comments Off on Muslim family fed others every day while fasting for Ramadan
Spread the love

Anas Deib, left, and his brother Hamza Deib at their restaurant Taheni in Park Slope, BrooklynAnas Deib, left, and his brother Hamza Deib at their restaurant Taheni in Park Slope, Brooklyn.STEFAN JEREMIAH

Hamza Deib’s family was forced to close its restaurants when business dropped by 90 percent during the coronavirus pandemic — but that didn’t mean they stopped serving others.

Deib, 28, his brother Anas and their seven other brothers and sisters have been cooking and donating meals to the community throughout the crisis — largely out of their own pocket.  

“It’s either we’re going to sit here and just be bitter about it and not do anything or we do what’s right and go out there and see who needs food,” said Deib, of Islip, Long Island.

“We’re not just going to sit back and do nothing.” 

When Deib and his family first got started, they were only serving about 100 meals a day to hospitals and police departments, using up a large stockpile of inventory they had at their two Taheni restaurants in Park Slope, Brooklyn and Hells Kitchen, Manhattan. 

But then food pantries, homeless shelters and non-profit organizations started reaching out for help, so the Deib family started to expand. 

They’re now cooking and serving 1,000 meals a day. 

Deib said the most important work they’ve done has been feeding the homeless. During the holy month of Ramadan, the family worked day and night for 30 days in a row to run a makeshift soup kitchen in Manhattan while they were fasting. 


“We were doing it just on Saturday nights and we’ve seen people literally walk up to us and they were like ‘this is my only meal for the week, I don’t get to eat right now, everything is closed, no one is handing out change, no one is doing anything for anyone right now just because no one is in Manhattan,’” Deib recalled. 

“That’s when we made the choice to start bumping it to two days a week, then three days a week and then for the month of Ramadan, we did it every single night,” he continued, adding that they ultimately gave out 100 to 300 meals a night. 

“Many organizations throughout Manhattan are just closed right now … there’s so many homeless people who just don’t have the means to get food right now.” 

Typically, Ramadan is a time for strict prayer and family gatherings, but in a socially distanced world, that was no longer possible, Deib said. 

“Growing up our mother was very focused on always wanting to give back and always wanting to feed people so we literally just took this moment of what our mother did for Ramadan every single year,” he said.  

Dozens of Big Apple restaurants have worked to feed others during the pandemic, but many have fueled their efforts through corporate sponsorship and online donation drives. 

Deib said his family didn’t really start receiving donations until the last week of Ramadan when the group Nowhere Men filmed a short video about their work. 

After the video spread online, they started a GoFundMe page because people kept reaching out, offering to give. 


“It wasn’t about finances, it was really about we have a store full of food and there’s plenty of people out there that need help, so let’s just go out there and do the right thing,” Deib said.

The family plans to continue feeding the homeless after the pandemic ends. 

“As Muslims, we truly believe that charity is an act of goodness that will only increase somebody’s wealth, we truly believe that. There’s no such thing as ‘I’m going to give back, I’m going to help somebody and it’s going to decrease my financial wealth,’” Deib said.

“We always believe that when you give back, basically do good, good will come for you too.” 

Spread the love