For the sixth year in a row, a group of Delaware Muslims are preparing to give away hundreds of winter coats to children who need them.
The coats will be handed out this Saturday at Masjid Al-Kauthar, a mosque in Wilmington, where Rabia Ahmad-Green and husband Jaffar Wali Green both worship.
The couple has organized the coat drive from the very beginning.
“At first we were doing a lot of the back-to-school giveaways, we were giving away the bookbags. And the children and the parents start asking, ‘Do you have coats?,’ and they were asking more frequently over a few years so I said well let me try to get some coats,” Ahmad-Green recalled.
And she did. Together, the couple has given out approximately 10,000 brand new winter coats to children in Wilmington and Chester, PA every year since 2010, free of charge. The coats all came from private donors and car dealers.
“When you get a brand new coat out of the plastic with the tags still on it, that’s a little different to children,” Ahmad-Green said. “Some of them cry, I cry because watching the kids’ faces. It’s such a thrill. That’s what I do it for.”
Green said while coats don’t seem like much, he wants to help any way he can. This time of year can be tough, he said, when parents are hit hard with back-to-school costs and the pressure of the holidays.
“We understand that it’s a struggle for the parents,” Green said. “When you’re a parent, and you’ve got three kids, and you have to pay $50 per coat, that’s a light bill and sometimes parents have to choose. And this is why we see some children walking around with hoodies on instead of a coat because the parents can’t really afford them.”
Shining a light
For five years, Rabia Ahmad-Green, Jaffar Green and dozens of other Muslims have done their good deeds completely under the radar. But this year, the couple wanted to publicize the coat drive to counter the negative attention Muslims typically receive in the news.
“There’s a lot of positive things that Muslims are doing in the community and very rarely do we get a chance to voice that,” said Ahmad-Green, who pointed out one of the tenets of Islam is to help people.
A tenet Ahmad-Green carries out in her every day life. She is the CEO of SMART Inc., a nonprofit that helps women with children, who are abused, homeless, unemployed or just out of prison. The acronym stands for Single Mothers Are Really Trying. Husband Jaffar Wali Green heads up the Single Men Are Really Trying side of business.
Unlike years past when the Greens were able to give away 2,000 coats, this year they estimate they’re only going to be able to give out 600 coats because a major donor fell through this year.
But coats and/or money can still be donated to the Greens through their nonprofit SMART Inc. The coat giveaway takes place on Saturday, Dec. 3, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Masjid Al-Kauthar at 2102 Northeast Blvd. in Wilmington.