Of the miracles of our Prophet Sulayman (AS), upon whom be peace, was his command over the wind. This blessing from Allah made travel easy for him, and, indeed, afforded him access to the world at large. Alhamdulillah, we are fortunate to have tasted part of this sweetness with our personal cars - in fact, such a grace is so omnipresent that we tend to forget it is a grace at all.
The Al-Falah Refugee Relief Committee has been running the Smiley Rides Project for the past two years to collect donations and assist refugee families settling in NJ by helping to provide much-needed vehicles. Alhamdulillah, we have been able to support multiple families over the course of our project, having successfully funded more than seven cars—including multiple vans! The benefited families have been able to use their Smiley Rides for transportation to work and better access to hospitals and other medical resources, especially important for those families with elderly, ailing parents and/or physically-challenged children.
Of course, the Smiley Rides fundraising initiatives have not only been beneficial for the families, but a wonderful time for the Al-Falah community to come together. Two Smiley Rides events were set up as carnivals, and allowed local and refugee families to forge friendships and get to know one another in a light-hearted atmosphere. Carnival-goers participated in stations such as face painting, Eid and bookmark crafts, basketball, food sales, and much more. Mash'Allah, a total of $2,007 was raised at our last fun-filled event in January—which is only a percentage of the collected total when put alongside other initiatives such as classroom penny wars and simple donation.
The supported families have been especially motivated by the care and devotion of our community, and are becoming increasingly self-sufficient: Smiley Rides only funds a portion of the cost per car, instilling both responsibility and pride in donees, while still serving as a kind, helping hand.