TAMPA, Fla. — Beginning Saturday, the Islamic Society of Tampa Bay will extend a helping hand to local federal workers caught up in the government shutdown.

Citing religious tenets to care for one’s neighbor, the center, which is located at 7326 East Sligh Avenue in Tampa, announced it would be serving free dinners, seven days a week, to federal employees and their families impacted by the government shutdown.

Many of the volunteers cooking and serving are Syrian refugees who recently came to Tampa Bay.

This, they say, is an opportunity to show their appreciation.

“We now feel part of this community,“ said volunteer Bushra Alkhwaja, “And we want to help.”

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The Islamic Center will also host a food pantry service, so that local families impacted by the shutdown can also receive supplies they might need.

With help from local charities and donations, they also plan to provide cash cards to those who may need help paying basic expenses like gasoline covering basic expenses like gasoline and utilities.

The center has asked anyone planning to take them up on their generous offer to reserve a spot by visiting www.muslimsforgovworkers.com

When asked how long they intend to provide the services, Ahmed Bedier, president of United Voices for America, said, “As long as it continues.”

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