Volunteering at Rumi’s Kitchen

On Sunday 15th January 2017, a group of volunteers from Al-Muhsinat had the pleasure of exchanging their cosy beds and their warm homes to travel to Rumi’s Kitchen in Cricklewood. The purpose of Rumi’s Kitchen is to prepare and serve a warm and delicious three-course meal for the homeless and vulnerable in North-West London. Our group included Zuharia, Kiran, Iqra and Zainab, all current students at Al-Muhsinat. We woke early in the morning in order to arrive promptly to Rumi’s Kitchen. After introductions, the first task was to set up the main hall where our guests would be served. Our students happily helped other volunteers in sweeping floors, arranging tables and chairs and placing cutlery ready for the meal. As the hall was being set up for the guests, the Al-Muhsinat team got working in the kitchen racing against time to get the warm meal cooked.

On the menu was a choice of Chicken or Vegetable Biryani, with a side of Raita (yoghurt with mixed salad) and a scrumptious fruit salad with double cream. Quite a menu it was and our volunteers gave it nothing but their best.

An arduous three hours later, a hot meal, lovingly made, was ready to be served to more than fourty guests (and that was excluding volunteers). The guests were served at their tables by the regular Rumi’s Kitchen volunteers who came to the pot of Biryani for refills often. Alhamdulillah…it went down well. Everyone sat and enjoyed conversations with the guests whilst relishing over the meal.

But this was not the end…

After the meal, it was time to clean up. The student-volunteers ate their share of Biryani and energised themselves for the next part of the day, tidy up time. They all dispersed and took part in various jobs including washing and drying dishes, packing away tables and chairs and finally sweeping and mopping the floors. All left over food was packed in containers for the guests to take away which bought the work to a close for the day…exhausted was an understatement! However, what kept the girls and all other volunteers going with a big smile was their unified intention: to serve the homeless and vulnerable from amongst us in the best of ways for the sake of Allah.

Here’s what the students had to say about their day:

‘I could honestly feel the unity between everyone that took part that Sunday morning. From the volunteers to our guests, the atmosphere was genuinely enriching and humbling. Although I easily lost myself in chopping vegetables against the time and managing the spices in the raita, it enabled me to take time to reflect on the beauty of community and how we should better use our countless blessings gifted to us from Allah to serve those around us. Whether it be the time we spare on a Sunday morning or our very hands for washing up after our guests. It all counts towards a bigger aim to please our Creator. For me, it was a reminder of brotherhood and serving our brothers in humanity.’ – Zuharia

‘A really enjoyable experience at Rumi’s Kitchen today. Helping to cook for 30/40 people for the first time, flew by quite stress-free alhamdulilah. All the volunteers were very helpful and friendly. It was a cold and wet day, which only highlighted to me the importance of such services, all the service users seemed very relaxed and complimented the food- it was a warm community feel in the room, with children playing and eating good food. Definitely something I’d like to volunteer for again in sha Allah.’ – Kiran

Alhamdulillah it was a rewarding day and already the girls are looking forward to their next trip to Rumi’s Kitchen.

Tayibah Shahzad (Student Volunteers Lead)

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