A food bank is a non-profit organization created for the purpose of collecting and distributing food for those who don’t have the means or it’s difficult for them to acquire it themselves. Some food banks run as “front line”, meaning they personally give food directly to the hungry. Other’s run as “warehouses”, collecting food then sending it out to smaller food banks, soup kitchens, and other front line organizations, mostly in other countries. The first food bank was St. Mary’s Food Bank, established in the USA in 1967. Over the past 50 years, thousands of food banks have been established across the country. Europe, which had little use for food banks due to they’re extensive welfare system, had food banks sprouting all over rapidly because of the global increase in the price of food in 2006, and even more especially after the financial crisis of 2007-08.
With thousands of food banks around the world, there are many different models and operating systems. Since the global pandemic we are currently in this year 2020, with social distancing and sheltering in place, many people are in desperate need of food and personal care items. Here’s a few insha’Allah these will help ease the burden:
*Masjids in the Greater Atlanta area:
461 West Crogan St
Lawrenceville, GA 30046
6200 Memorial Dr.
Stone Mountain, Ga
I Have Enough Food Pantry
Located inside the masjid at
560 Fayetteville Rd. S.E.
Atlanta, GA. 30316
1-3pm 2x a month drive thru pick up only.
Is supplying frozen cooked meals for Seniors 60+ Monday 8am-3pm
Email if interested
*Food banks and pantries in Gwinnett County:
Exodus Outreach, Inc.
Location of center - 251 Bona Rd.
Buford, Georgia 30518
Telephone number - (770) 945-9064
North Gwinnett Cooperative Ministry
70 Wiley Dr.
Buford, Georgia 30518
Dial (770) 271-9793 for information and hours.
Several social service and assistance programs are offered for the needy in the community. Counselors can direct people to programs to help pay bills, housing costs, and more. In addition, a food pantry and clothing closet is on site for free food, supplies such as diapers, and other aid.
Duluth Cooperative Ministries - Hands of Christ
Location - 3395 Fox St.
Duluth, GA 30096
Call - (770) 623-9563
A bag of groceries may be passed out, or staff can help very low income residents apply for SNAP food stamps or other benefits.
NEED HELP PAYING BILLS
Now Faith Apostolic International Ministries
Grayson, GA 30017
Dial - (770) 771-3512
Cafe Community Center at Cathedral De Fe Ministries, Inc.
675 Buford Dr. Ste. 21
Lawrenceville, Georgia 30046
Main number - (770) 236-8604
Meals and food is offered to the low income, homeless, and others.
Lawrenceville Cooperative Ministry, Inc.
Address: 176 Church St.
Lawrenceville, GA 30046
Dial - (770) 339-7887
Another Gwinnett County Georgia ministry, similar services offered as the other non-profit agency listed above.
New Life Fellowship, Inc. - Bread of Life Food Ministries
990 Martins Chapel Rd.
Lawrenceville, GA 30045
Meals, fresh perishable items, bread, and other free food and groceries offered.
Gwinnett County Service Unit branch of Salvation Army
Main office - 3455 SugarLoaf Pkwy.
Lawrenceville, Georgia 30044
Telephone - (770) 724-1661
The local Salvation Army offers a wide range of assistance programs for the low income, unemployed, seniors, and needy. Some of the resources can help pay electric bills, rent, and medications. However most services provide items like access to a food pantry.
Signs & Wonders, Inc.
Location - 120 S. Perry St.
Lawrenceville, GA 30046
Telephone - (770) 962-0470
Vision Academy Life Center
458 Chestnut St.
Lawrenceville, GA 30045
Call - (678) 206-0688
St. Vincent de Paul of Gwinnett
The church based group provides services in this county too. The low income, with a focus on families with children or senior citizens, can receive free food, perishable goods, and maybe even baby formula. Call (678) 892-6163 for hours.
Lilburn Cooperative Ministry
Address is 5329 Five Forks Trickum Rd.
Lilburn, Georgia 30047
A pantry has free food in a crisis. Other services will be formula, clothing and a low cost thrift shop for people in poverty.
City of Hope and Community Outreach Ministry, Inc.
Food bank location is 182 Hunter St.
Norcross, GA 30071
Dial (770) 441-2948 for hours.
Cafe Community Center
Food pantry address is on Buford Drive in Lawrenceville
Call the non-profit at (770) 236-8604
Resources administered include a free food pantry with non-perishable and perishable items such as fruits or vegetables.
Norcross Cooperative Ministry
Center address is - 2275 Mitchell Rd.
Norcross, Georgia 30071
Dial - (770) 263-8268
A number of services are available. A food pantry will have bags of groceries in a crisis. Or contact the center for information on government aid such as SNAP food stamps.
Place of Enlightenment, Inc.
2720 Centerville Hwy.
Snellville, Georgia 30078
Phone number - (770) 982-8221. Dial the Main Client Number for hours and when food is distributed.
Berean Christian Church Gwinnett
1465 Highpoint Rd.
Snellville, GA 30078
Free food boxes once a week drive thru on Friday starting at 1pm.
Purpose World Church
1905 Highpoint Rd, Snellville, GA 30078
Food boxes every Wednesday 4:30-6:30
They also offer vegan food boxes and name brand natural personal hygiene products too.
Your Local Farmers Market
just Google your cities market to get great deals and double your purchases if using EBT/SNAP BENEFITS
*ALL ORDERS ARE BEING MADE ONLINE*
You can also purchase items on Amazon using EBT/SNAP.
***also check out this YouTube channel that helps you figure out more ways to use your EBT/SNAP benefits
*Several other resources and food assistance programs operate in the Gwinnett County region. Examples of them include school meals and summer snacks for children, Meals on Wheels, and more. To get more information on local pantries or resources, dial (404) 892-9822.
Kiesha and Ta-Seti Jabri
Kiesha is a wife and mother of 7. She has been apart of the Atlanta Muslim Community for over 20yrs. And helped co- chair the Deen Media Center. Ta-Seti is a rising 10th grader, who is aspiring in the field of journalism. She has consecutively won the Gwinnett County libraries Reading program since 2016. Seti has also been a Girl Scout for 5 yrs at Al-Falah Academy.
The journey of Tariq, the Muslim beekeeper began approximately three years ago. Tariq has always been a “nature boy” for as long as he could remember. As a young boy, he was the kid that stayed outdoors. His preference would be to ride bikes or play basketball than to play video games. But when friends were not around, he passed time collecting and building vivariums (enclosures, containers, or structures adapted or prepared for keeping animals under seminatural conditions for observation). Tariq first started off building terrariums for collecting and raising toads, lizards, and snakes that he would catch around the house. He then moved to aquariums where he raised various fish, crustaceans, amphibians, and turtles.
It should come to no surprise that by his senior year of high school he was well positioned to go to college and major in zoology. However, due to his father cautioning him that a zoologist would not have a financially rewarding life and the school of his choice (Morehouse) didn’t have a zoology major, he chose to major in biology instead. Although he was on a pre-med track, he opted not to pursue medical school after college. Rather his secondary passion for social activism lead him to education.
Tariq never strayed far from his nature loving side; in his classrooms he raised praying mantises. Shortly after starting a career as a high school teacher, he was back in the seat of the student obtaining a master’s degree in Science Education. After about 10 years as a teacher, he transitioned into Educational Leadership. Tariq currently acts as director, educator, and wellness therapist at Makkah International Institute.
After founding Makkah International Institute and beginning to homestead he has now been afforded the opportunity to rekindle his childhood passion of exploring the natural world. Among other endeavors, Makkah International Institute takes regular expeditions to provide youth with real world, culturally relevant learning experiences. Among these expeditions, we have gone snorkeling, taken college tours, visited nature centers, and various farms including that of a Muslim beekeeper.
It was at this trip to visit a Muslim beekeeper in 2014 that he was first introduced to beekeeping. The beekeeper saw the enthusiasm in the faces of the summer camp youth that he decided to invest in the organization by giving the organization a beginner’s beekeeping book. Tariq flipped through it, and three years later, as his homestead was steadily growing, he was ready to buy my first batch of honeybees which he purchased from another Muslim Beekeeper. The honeybees were one of the last animals to join his homestead: after the chickens, quail, and goats.
After his first year of beekeeping he attended the Young Harris Beekeeping Institute and became a certified beekeeper. He is currently working on his third beehive, and plans to continue to advance in the art of beekeeping until he becomes a master beekeeper. Tariq aspires to add to the scientific research of bee related matters as well as experience being a honey judge.
In addition to the personal fulfillment that beekeeping has given Tariq, children within the community have also benefitted tremendously from him being a beekeeper. Since honeybees are major pollinators, the children have gained a better interest in and understanding of agriculture and food production. Beyond honey, the children have also learned that humans collect many other useful products from bees such as wax, royal jelly, and pollen. We anticipate that we will soon have children expressing interest in going into the natural health field due to learning of the many health benefits of pollen and royal jelly. We already have children that want to make candles and cosmetic products from the wax! The youth have already gained experience in harvesting honey, this year Makkah International Institute is looking forward to producing candles and cosmetics as well!
Unlike the keeping of other animals and critters, Tariq finds that beekeeping is highly connected to his religious fulfillment. The bee is mentioned in the Quran and the Prophet said that honey, black seed, and hijama are cures for all diseases and the best of all medicines. As an Islamic wellness therapist not only does Tariq perform hijama, but he also gives wellness advice on a regular basis. So quite naturally, he relays the many narrations of Prophet Muhammad that relate to wellness. If someone is sick, all too often Tariq will recommend that they take some honey. In fact, he even provides it after his hijama appointments. Which is local, fresh from the farm, and above the organic standard!
After it is all said and done the number one question people ask is “how many times have you been stung”? Contrary to what most people believe, honeybees are relatively easy to manage. In his three years of beekeeping, he has only been stung about five times. Beekeeping maintenance mainly consists of opening the hive about twice a month to check the health and development of the colony. In my three years I have spent about $700 in beekeeping supplies and training. Which is about the same as a good pedigree German Shephard (without the training!). But unlike a pet dog, the honeybees find their own food. They will travel about a mile away to find the flowers they love.
Makkah International Institute combines three essentials to community prosperity: service, education, and wellness. Central to our mission is the honeybee. With aw inspiring social structure and unmatched work ethic the honeybee is so central to our organization that it was chosen as our mascot. The Makkah Institute Killer Bees are steadily growing in popularity at many local basketball tournaments donning their Stealers (and honeybee) black and gold colors. Beyond summer camps and school curricula, Makkah International Institute uses beekeeping in a holistic manner to uplift our community.
If anyone has any questions or need advice Tariq is always willing to lend a helping hand to the community. Till the next time, Happy Beekeeping!
Tariq Abdul-Malik B.S, MAT, Ed.S, CHP
Tariq Abdul-Malik is the founder and director of Makkah International Institute LLC, Makkah Institute Inc., and Makkah Farms. He is a passionate father of 9, husband, son, brother, educator, hijama practicitioner, and beekeeper. He is a staunch advocate for holistic wellness and education that balances mind, body, and spirit.
Based on what we know at this time, COVID-19 affects pregnant women no differently than non pregnant women. However, pregnant women in general are at a greater risk of getting sick from respiratory viruses than non pregnant women. Some babies have tested positive shortly after birth, but it is unknown whether the babies got the virus before, during, or after birth. There are few reports of newborns with severe illness; however, much is still unknown about the risk of COVID- 19 to newborns. We do not know if COVID-19 can be spread thru breast milk, but limited data available states that it is highly unlikely. So breastfeeding continues to be the best source of nutrition for all infants.
On the day you deliver, if you are positive for COVID-19 or exhibiting symptoms you will be placed on isolation and more than likely separated from your baby at birth. Some hospitals will allow the infant to stay in your room but a 6 feet separation between mom and baby must be maintained. This is for the good of the child. Most hospitals will allow only one support person in the delivery room, and they will not allow that person to swap out with another.
If you’re pregnant you should take the following precautions:
Lisa Connor APRN, MS, CNM, LCCE
Lisa Connor earned her Masters of Science in Midwifery from SUNY Downstate in Brooklyn, NY in 2000 launching a career in home and hospital births as a full time CNM. Lisa offers a calm reassuring presence that is a blessing to birthing families while her expertise provides a safe and holistic approach to pregnancy and women’s health.
On May 19th, the CDC released guidelines for school attendance during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC outlined three possible scenarios and included the risks of each situation. The three scenarios included:
Lowest Risk: Students and teachers engage in virtual-only classes, activities, and events.
More Risk: Small, in-person classes, activities, and events. Groups of students stay together and with the same teacher throughout/across school days, and groups do not mix. Students remain at least 6 feet apart and do not share objects (e.g., hybrid virtual and in-person class structures or staggered/rotated scheduling to accommodate smaller class sizes).
Highest Risk: Full-sized, in-person classes, activities, and events. Students are not spaced apart, share classroom materials or supplies, and mix between classes and activities. By late June, three schools had rolled out their fall school opening plans giving parents a choice between digital, in-person, and a hybrid model. The proposal came after both parent and staff surveys, but the announcements shocked many. The last few months took parents through the burden of homeschooling, cancelation of graduations, and the worry of keeping their children safe during a pandemic. Now parents must decide how their child would learn for the next school year with very little information as to how it will look. As we walk into this great unknown, what can we do to be prepared and ensure our children have the best school experience possible? (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/schools.html)
When schools closed in March, there wasn't a single parent ready for the burden of digital learning. We scrambled to keep up with assignments and understand what in the world it all meant. The parents struggled, the students struggled, and we all felt like we had fallen down the rabbit hole, hoping to return home soon. As summer approached, it felt like we were free, and our "normal" would return. We celebrated the start of summer with all the hopes school in the fall would be the same as we left it, but we approach the start of school this fall it looks like we will have to accept a new "normal." That "normal" included parents having to decide how their children will receive their education for the next school year and the reality that the pandemic is still present.
At the end of June, three counties had announced their plans for reopening. These plans included Hybrid, in-person or digital options. Ready or not, our students will return no later than August 17th. With this realization, parents want to know how schools plan to keep our students and their staff safe. The state of Georgia does not require masks, but some school districts are strongly recommending it along with six feet of distance when possible. Decisions about restrictions during this pandemic change monthly, so there are still many unknowns. Districts have not given specific and definite guidelines on recess, PE, assemblies, Parent nights, etc. where crowds and distancing will be difficult. So how do we ensure our children will be safe. As a parent of elementary and a high school student and also an elementary teacher, I know that it will be hard to keep the little ones masked and apart from each other all day. It is important to make sure we implore our children to keep their safety in mind. Make sure they have personal cleansing and disinfecting materials, and keep in mind they need to stay distant from their friends when possible. Schools are not allowing sharing of materials, but children need to make sure they are not sharing personal materials like they may be used to. Just as we prepare our children for safety in any environment, we now have to prepare them to stay safe in school.
Now that we have heard what the return of school may look like, how can we, as parents, ensure that our children are safe, and their educational needs are met? With information coming from every which way and changing weekly, we as parents will be our children's most important advocates. Schools will be working diligently to create environments that follow state guidelines while keeping student's academic needs in mind. Whether your child is attending a hybrid, in person, or digital format, it will be starkly different from what they have been used to. One possible concern with face to face or hybrid instruction might be the possibility of the necessary safety precautions posing an emotional an/or academic risk to a successful school year. In preparation for this possible concern, it is important to be aware of any and all safety measures your school will be implementing. Making your child is aware ahead of time can reduce any possible anxiety or fear. Knowing the school's safety measures will also help parents to feel empowered and in the know.
It is important as an advocate to know what your child's academic needs are and how they will be met. It is ok to ask as many questions as you need to understand and support your child. These questions may help you understand…
I am am a wife mother of four and an elementary education teacher for Cobb County schools. I have spent the last four years advocating for children who have experienced adverse effects of trauma. I am a teacher trainer and curriculum developer striving to create curriculum for teachers and schools to better address students who are underserved. I am also the creative director of MACE (Muslim Advocated of Children with Exceptionalities), a group that strives to open avenues for special needs children and their families.
I cannot accept this “New Norm”. I cannot accept that my life will no longer be the same because you told me the boogie man is outside and the boogie man is so big that no one can see him and he is so dangerous that we all have to hide from him, and if you don’t hide from him, shame on you. You are now subjected to social demonization. You are now a pariah because you refuse to accept these boundaries that have been set almost overnight. Shut up and take this check and sit at home and binge watch Netflix. Yes, and your children, set them in front of the computer for eight hours a day. You aren’t qualified to teach your children? But you must. The New Norm is the standard. Your daddy died? Yes. Sorry to hear that, move along please. No, the boogie man did not kill him, but the New Norm protocol is: you are not allowed to grieve with your family, air hugs only, text messages, and tears cried alone in your room while the New Norm flaunts his muscles in the streets. Pushing back any naysayer or independent thinker who challenges the boogie man.
The power of the pen is strong. No I haven’t seen anyone die from the boogie man. But I have been flooded with stories on social media, the radio, and newspapers of his destruction. The Boogie Man is bad; he will kill your aging parents. Yes, keep them locked up, do not physically interact with them. The pen wrote that the Boogie man’s victims are being bulldozed into refrigerated trucks and dumped into mass graves. Far be it for me to challenge the Boogie man especially during an election year. I say the Boogie Man can kiss my glass of freshly juiced ginger, lemon, and honey. I will not accept the Boogie Man or the New Norm. You will have to force them on me. They will take advantage of me and fill me with suspicion of my neighbors and friends. He will desensitize my children while over stimulating them. My parents will die a slow lonely death all the while I will be labeled extreme and reckless, because I do not accept the boogie man and I will not abide by the New Norm, because I refuse to live a life in solitude under the guise of being “virtually” socially connected with people who probably wouldn’t call me, hug me, console me even if I was right in front of them. The New Norm will not be my reality.
I need you!
Reshelle is the editor of A Message from Makkah. She is also the administrator for Makkah International Institute. Reshelle is a masters degreed educator with with over ten years experience teaching domestically and abroad. She is a mother of 9 children, wife, and sister.
Contrary to popular belief, this protest isn’t about one singular event or justice for one person or even a small group of people. This protest is the representation of the pot boiling over. African American’s and honestly, young people in general have seemed to finally have enough of the injustices in this country and more specifically, the racial injustices committed against black peoples with seemingly no repercussions. That is the spirit of this protest and Insha Allah it will be successful however, in order for it to be successful, we must relearn resistance. We do not have to be violent and chaotic to get to the goals we seek but we do have to be organized and defiant. We must make things uncomfortable for those who are comfortable. Effective Protesting is easy there will be tough times but anything worth having is worth fighting for and this is indeed worth having.
Be safe when you're fighting for freedom
For folks who are new to social justice actions:
1. Water makes pepper spray worse. Use milk or liquid antacid and water. Don't wear contacts.
2. If you get tear gassed, when you get home, put the contaminated clothes in a plastic bag for later decontamination and shower with cold water to avoid opening your pores.
3. Come with friends and don't get separated.
Avoid leaving the crowd and watch out for police snatch squads.
4. Beware undercovers, but beware snitch jacketing and collaborator 'peace police' even more.
5. The far right is very good at combing through pictures and doxxing people. Mask up.
6. Write any necessary phone numbers you may need directly on your skin in sharpie.
7. Have an offsite plan for emergencies if you have not been heard from by X time coordinate with someone offsite.
8. Make sure all mobile devices are charged!!
9. If you plan on going to jail, plan it: bail, lawyer, time off from work, witnesses i.e.: a cadre. Don't just go to jail without training.
10. Beware folks inciting violence. Most of them are police feds. Watch out for hook ups for the same reason. Get to know the crowd. They will set you up. (courtesy of Facebook)
Kairi Al-Amin Esq.
Attorney Kairi Al-Amin is a Muslim rapper, activist, lawyer and business developer from Atlanta, Ga.
Today’s Market & Future Outlook
Real Estate experts continue to monitor and track the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and its effects on our economy. Recent data shows that we are currently in a seller’s market that is slightly shifting downward, with home values slowly decreasing. This is partly because even though mortgage interest rates are lower than ever, millions of US borrowers still can’t receive a home loan since they are out of work. Despite this downward shift in home values and rising unemployment rate, the Georgia marketplace continues to be resilient with signs of future improvement. Experts believe that we should see a recovery starting in late 2020 or 2021. As of April, buyer activity has started picking back up and normalizing as homebuyers continue to move forward with their home ownership plans. Recent statistics show that homes are selling 3 days more quickly than last year this time. This means if you’re a homeowner planning to sell, this summer is still the hottest time to buy and sell your home.
Steps to Financially Survive
If you want to be financially successful during this economic shift, there are 4 action steps to help you survive and thrive. The first and most critical step is create a personal budget and stick to it. On a spreadsheet, list out all of your monthly expenses and include ALL of your debt. Include credit cards, student loans, car payments, mortgage, etc. Create a budget of all of your spending per pay-period. Then list your income and subtract your expenses from your income to determine your net profit. You always want your net profit to be a positive number so that your expenses are less than your income and you are not in the negative every pay-period. Try to allow some excess cash for savings. Work every month to evaluate your actual spending using a financial app. I recommend Mint.com. Check yourself if you have overspent last month and make adjustments to the budget as needed or make a stronger effort to stay within your budget. Your entire family has to be on board with the budget in order for it to work. You can follow the Dave Ramsey “Total Money Makeover” budget plan to help you get started.
The second step is to categorize & cut expenses so that you can maximize your cash flow. Categorize each expense as A, B, C, and D. A’s are must-haves, B’s are wants, C’s are luxuries, and D’s are expenses that have no purpose and you may not even know where they came from. The goal is to cut, cut, and then cut some more until you only have A’s & B’s left. Try to start by cutting out all D’s this month. Then next month cut as many C’s as you can. Try to see if you can free up $1000 of your money and put it aside for the 3rd action step.
The third action step is to systematically pay off all of your debts & save for emergencies. Paying off debts will allow you to free up more of your cash flow and have money for emergencies. More than ever now, companies are willing to work out payment plans, remove late fees, and defer payments for those impacted by Covid-19. Now’s the time to reach out to companies and see how you can benefit as well. Using the Dave Ramsey Plan, read “Total Money Makeover” and follow the steps to get out of debt. Once you’re able to pay off all of your debt, you will have more cash back into your pocket that you can use to invest and build wealth.
The fourth step is to put all of your focus and efforts into increasing your personal wealth. Set goals for your personal wealth and long-term financial freedom. Write down your goal with specific dates and numbers that you want to obtain. If your goal is to earn an extra $1000 per month of passive income, then you will need to research and find out what others have done to obtain the same goal. Then mimic their steps and exactly follow what they did so that you can have the same results. Once you determine your plan of action, systematically work the plan focusing only on completing the actions. Also remember to reward yourself for achievements! As you go along, reward yourself as milestones are reached and check them off. I personally have a purse fetish, so I often treat myself to a Coach bag every-time I reach a milestone. Maybe you just want to go out to eat at your favorite restaurant. There is nothing wrong with rewarding yourself for a job well done!
When You’re Ready to Start Investing
When you’re ready to start investing there are a ton of different ways you can diversify your portfolio. In my opinion, you’re ready to start investing if your debts are paid off, you have at least $1000 set aside in savings for emergencies, and you have a positive net profit every pay-period.
If you’re ready, then a portion of the excess cash can be divided and invested into REITs & stocks. Two resources that can get you started are Fundrise for REITs and Robinhood for stocks. When it comes to stocks, I prefer high dividend paying stocks and investing long term. That strategy is because of my personal goal of building passive income for retirement. Your personal goals may be different, therefore your strategy should match your goal. I truly recommend watching and subscribing to Graham Stephan and Andrei Jikh’s Youtube videos to learn more about stock investing.
Real Estate investing is a strong classical method for earning passive income, especially for retirement. You can flip or hold, but based on my studies, some of the wealthiest investors invest in multi-unit rental properties and hold to receive rental income. Others choose the Flip, Flip, Hold strategy. Again, your strategy should reflect your personal goal. There are also many tax advantages that real estate investing allows. I recommend listening to Del Walmsley & Tom Ferry podcasts to learn more about investing in Real Estate.
Business Ownership is another big investment that also allows tax advantages. Purchasing an existing business or starting your own is a great way to build wealth in the form of a company that can be passed down to future generations. Many of my wealthier friends have formed partnerships to build a business and invest together. Pulling together your resources, whether financial or “sweat equity” and working together as a team often makes you stronger and more successful than someone working solo.
Finally, don’t forget your kids and the need to save for their college and/or your retirement. The last thing you want is to have your children get into debt to attend school. Similarly, investing a portion of your income into a IRA or 401k will allow you to have multiple streams of income for retirement. If you want to learn more about how to build wealth for retirement, I direct you again to listen to Del Walmsley’s Lifestylesunlimited podcasts and follow his strategy.
Real Estate Ownership
The homeownership rate continues to increase as more people place value in homeownership. If you’re thinking about buying a home in the near future, here are 4 steps to help you get ready.
1. Start saving for your down-payment and closing costs and figure out how much home you can afford. Use a Home Buying calculator to know your purchasing power and potential costs. Most real estate agents and lenders will have these tools available on their websites.
2. Get a Pre-Qualification letter from a lender or Pre-Approval Letter
3. Get a Real Estate Agent
4. Do your research on home ownership, costs of buying, and the current market
5. Tour homes (in-person and/or online)
Islamic Financing Options
If you’re considering using Islamic (Faith-based) Financing instead of conventional, there are a couple of good options out there that allow Muslims to avoid Riba. There are 2 sources that I would recommend for faith-based financing:
1. Guidance Residential
2. University Islamic Financial (UIF)
There are a ton of resources and programs out there to assist First-Time Homebuyers, Repeat Homebuyers, Investors, and people impacted by Covid-19. Reach out to your real estate expert or financial advisor to find out what resources they have that can help you.
Born in Hempstead, NY and raised in Atlanta, GA Jameela is a recognized entrepreneur, investor, and IT professional. She holds a Master's degree in Computer Information Systems and is a Licensed Realtor and owner of Esa Realty, LLC. She was the former CEO and owner of Rashid Technologies and Founder of Risala Islamic Academy in Stone Mountain, Ga. She has experience in buying and selling real estate and has owned & flipped 6 properties since 2012.
The saying “we are living in a new normal” is so cliché, yet so real. When we think about education in this new way it seems to be a toss-up. You may have a great system in place to deliver digital learning, with a supportive community, as well as a dedicated staff to support digital learning. You may have a system where summer began after March 13, 2020, or a system that is somewhere in-between the two poles. We have lived through Covid-19 digital learning of Pre-K through college level classes. As Pre-K through 12th grade administrators and governments identify reopening options, college officials are doing the same. We have a limited amount of information about what’s to come, but our students should still stay enriched and supported through this transition. We are now looking at young adults affected by this change but still striving for college and career readiness. Brick-and-Mortar institutions are now online schools, college admissions requirements are focused on something other than standardized exams, and students are continuing to question what to do with their lives.
As a Georgia school counselor, I have been inundated with students’ questions about what happens next year as it relates to Dual Enrollment or college admissions. The questions are filled with nervousness of the unknown, angst as it pertains to admissions answers, and I can only respond, “I don’t have all the answers, but take a minute to breath.” Though this time we are living in is like no other in our lifetime, I suggest students continue to build their resumes and add on to their mental lexicon. Over the summer, students should try to keep their minds sharp and build their knowledge. Find a group of friends that share your interest and create a book club or watch and discuss a movie together. A recent High School graduate told me that her and a group of friends “watch a movie together” at their respective homes while using a virtual meeting medium. Students are honing in on analytical and discussion skills every time they talk about the new movie, song, or book that’s out. Become accustom to reading the paper, watching the news, sitting with the elders and understanding historical and current events. Without deadlines or teacher driven instructions, try understanding some math concepts that completely made no sense during digital learning. Learning should not have ceased because of Covid-19.
College admissions procedures have drastically changed to accommodate the fluctuations in the world. The requirements are different; mandating minimum SAT or ACT scores is becoming obsolete, qualifying GPAs is still a necessity, and requiring various letters of recommendations are holding more weight. College Board is a not-for-profit organization, governing the SAT and other college success opportunities, who had to modify their exam schedule due to this pandemic; they are hoping to restart the exam schedule in August 2020 and adding exam dates more frequently. The question is, what does all of this mean for potential college students?
Colleges and Universities were obligated to think quickly to ensure students could still be admitted to their Summer 2020 or Fall 2020 programs. Many of the University System of Georgia (USG) schools have begun to accept a digital version of a dissimilar college admissions test: The Accuplacer in lieu of SAT or ACT scores is now being used. Georgia Gwinnett College and Georgia State University, to name a few, are amongst the schools that adopted the Accuplacer exam (Georgia Gwinnett College, 2020). Moreover, other states are rethinking admissions criteria as well. The University of California (UC) college system declared that they will not use SAT or ACT for admissions, but instead will have students complete a new test that aligns with UC expectations (Hess, 2020). Consequently, some schools such as Kennesaw State University have taken the stance of eliminating admissions tests completely during this time. These modifications have benefits and downsides. A Georgia technical college recently contacted me stating that students can now be placed in a college level math course just by submitting an official transcript. This is significant because math placement has been based on test scores under the guise that the scores are indicative of a student that can handle higher level thinking in that subject area. This is a benefit for students who simple do not test well. These changes affect rising college students, dual enrollment students, and current students on their matriculation journey.
Early last week, Georgia had ideas, but no concrete decision on how to reopen its brick-and-mortar campuses. According to the USG Fall 2020 Memo there were three Contingency plans that consider the safety of the staff and students of these institutions.
The current status of college admissions is not stagnant and can change as the pandemic changes. I encourage students to stay the course, and end the school year with a strong foundation to begin anew. If grades and GPA are a major factor in college admissions, then focus on being driven to succeed and follow your goals. Regardless of the conflicts of the times, remember your creator and set your course towards being a productive member of your community.
Georgia Gwinnett College. (2020). Freshman admission: Never attended college. https://www.ggc.edu/admissions/how-to-apply/freshmen-no-college.html
Hess, A. (2020, May 26). The UC sytem plans to phase out the SAT and ACT-and other schools may follow. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/22/uc-plans-to-phase-out-sat-and-act-other-schools-may-follow-suit.html
University System of Georgia. (2020, May 12). Stay safe, stay well on campus. https://www.usg.edu/coronavirus/
Madeenah Alwakeel-Dawson MEd
Madeenah Alwakeel-Dawson is a certified school counselor in the state of Georgia and a Doctoral student at the University of West Georgia. She has 18 years of education and counseling experience, working with children and adults alike. For the past 6 years, she has created a counseling department at a private Islamic School in the Atlanta Metro area and has held the School Counselor Department chair position. Madeenah is a proponent of tapping into hidden potential to support individuals in self-discovery and goal setting.
As a Muslim and from the very beginning of my life l was taught that when we feed other people, it is considered an act of worship to the Most High. As Muslims, we are taught that we are God's servants in service to Him. My family had land in Haralson, Georgia where my father, Jameel Muhammad lbraheem, and grandfather, Abu Jameel Muhammad lbraheem started the first masjid or Muslim house of worship on their land in the late 1960s. Muslims came from all over to learn to grow fruits and vegetables and live off of the land as a means for survival. We grew our own fruits and vegetables to be consumed and shared with others as a sadaqa. We raised our own livestock and supplied the inner cities with halal meats. As a child, all l can remember is that my father would cook up all this food, and feed people.
All praises due to God, my father was my first example of giving to others as an act of worship and service that is pleasing to the Most High. In 2004, l began feeding the homeless with a great friend of my brother named Abdul Jami Allen. His Nonprofit was called Giving Back to Humanity. I fed with him on Sundays at Broad Street Masjid in downtown Atlanta for 5 years. He literally fed 500 homeless people every single weekend. After each time we volunteered with Giving Back to Humanity, me and my mother would drive around our own neighbor, Westend Oakland City community, and look for two people to give our 2 volunteer plates to.
We would drive around looking for homeless people and find them under bridges and near vidocks all over the Westend Oakland city community. People would see us with plates and come running.... My mother and I felt sad because we would always only have those two plates of food to give out. The people would literally come running thinking that we had enough to feed everyone. While walking away, they always seemed very disappointed. I prayed to God, and l set a goal to try to feed 150 people on Sundays in my own Westend Oakland city community for His pleasure.
My Sister Yaqutullah lbraheem Muhammad had a mentor that soon became my mentor, Khariyyah Faiz. My sister fed the homeless with Sister Khariyyah’s nonprofit here in the city of Atlanta called Sis United lnc. Brother Abdul Jami Allen was also very supportive of my dream when l told him that l was preparing to start a feeding program in my own community because l saw a need there. In March of 2010, I made flyers and drove all around the Westend Oakland city community telling anyone that l saw who looked homeless or hungry about the establishment of a new feeding program. I began letting them know that they could receive a hot and delicious meal if they came to Oakland city park at 10am on a Sunday. The second Sunday of March 2010 l had my very first feeding.
l have been a teacher for 20 years, so many of my volunteers are past co-workers, parents, and students who have grown into adulthood. Humanitarian Relief Power to Feed The Hungry was started to feed and serve the community in which l was raised and lived in. All Praises Due to God, in March of 2020 we celebrated 10 years of Successful feedings. Over the years we have had summer read-a-thons focused on giving the children in our neighborhood access to 50k free books during the summer months. When l began feeding with brother Brother Abdul Jami of Giving Back to Humanities in 2004 l realized how many children in our city limits are affected by homelessness and hungry. After starting my own feeding program l was able to partner with Better World Books so that I could not only give each child a meal, but access to 10 books. When l first started, l could not have envisioned such a successful program that would also focus on children in the community. ln March of 2010 l just prayed and prayed for God to allow us to be able to continue to feed the community. All praises due to God, Alhumduillah, today Humanitarian Relief Power to feed the hungry has had over 553 successful feedings over 10 years and 8 weeks of feedings in God's Name. l have been able to keep the feeding the people entirely for the pleasure of God as an act of worship .
Jinnah Ibraheem is The Founder of Humanitarian Relief "Power to Feed The Hungry." She is a wife, daughter, and an educator with over 20 years experience. She has her bachelors and masters degrees in education, and is currently pursuing her PhD.
Think about the last time you were in your doctor's waiting room. Who did you see there? Chances are you probably noticed the usual suspects-- nurses, mothers, and children. However, it is likely that you did not see as many men. In healthcare settings across the country, this is an everyday reality.
June marks Men's Health Awareness Month, a national campaign that raises awareness about preventable conditions and promotes health and wellness among men and boys. According to research, most doctor visits involve women and children. On average, men are only half as likely to visit doctor's offices, emergency departments (ED), and physician home visits compared to women. Men are also less likely to utilize preventive care, hospice care, and dental care visits. Socialized norms about masculinity impact boys' and men's perception of their health and health behaviors. These norms also influence the beliefs of their family members, friends, and others within their social network.
The limited and delayed use of healthcare services can have severe consequences for men's health and wellness. Life expectancy is nearly five years shorter on average, for men than for women, and mortality rates for most leading causes of preventable death are highest among men. These health outcomes impact men's ability to be an involved father, supportive husband, and engaged member of their families and community.
"Recognizing and preventing men's health problems is not just a man's issue. Because of its impact on wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters, men's health is truly a family issue." Throughout June, religious organizations, private businesses, civic organizations, government agencies, fraternities, and others will host events to provide education on men-related health outcomes, prevention strategies, and resources.
This month on, encourage men and boys to participate in regular medical checkups and early detection for disease and injury.
Support men's disease prevention and wellness by:
For more information on Men's Health, check out:
Men's Health Resource Center: www.MensHealthResourceCenter.com
Health Profiles of Men and Boys in each state can be found at www.stateofmenshealth.com
 Pinkhasov RM, Wong J, Kashanian J, et al. Are men shortchanged on health? Perspective on health care utilization and health risk behavior in men and women in the United States. Int J Clin Pract. 2010;64(4):475‐487. doi:10.1111/j.1742-1241.2009.02290.x
 Congressman Bill Richardson.
Dr. Malikah S. Waajid, Ph.D, MPH
Dr. Waajid is an epidemiologist and program evaluator with more than 10 years of experience working in community health in the United States and abroad. She is born and raised in Decatur, Georgia.
Makkah International Institute