The Islamic month of Ramadan, which started on May 26th this year, is a time for greater acts of generosity from followers of the faith.
Project Touchdown was formed 2.5 years ago by Zishan Fazal ( see previous articles) and since then the group has grown significantly, supplying food to the homeless and needy on the streets of Derby, every Thursday. Originally, they served in the Market Place, but they are now operating from the St Peter’s Street Church ( on St Peter’s Street) giving them a place to prepare the food, directly, and for their visitors to have a warm, and safe space, to enjoy their meal. They are supported by donations from throughout the community, including a number of businesses, with both food and money. One of the most important contributions is from people giving their time freely ; Project Touchdown have a core volunteer base of around 20-25 people and many others who help out as it fits their lifestyle. Whilst Touchdown is based in Normanton, small fund-raising groups have formed in Alfreton, Allestree, Oakwood, Allention, amongst other areas in the City.
Although Project Touchdown welcomes volunteers from across the community regardless of background, and feeds anyone in the City who is homeless, it grew from the basic desire to help those in need, rooted in Zishan and his family’s Islamic faith. In the lead up to Ramadan this year the idea came about to build on the teachings which encourage greater generosity during Ramadan, and to go out every evening, and not just once per week. They decided to change location for these 30 days, and set up outside Milestone House ( hostel for homeless people).
For those in the group who are practising Muslims then they have the added challenge of preparing and distributing food whilst they are fasting. Each day, the fast will start around 2.30am, and finish around 9.30pm. Food is served at 6pm.
This initiative presented the group with a number of practical issues which they thought that they had resolved by partnering with a local catering firm….but sadly, they were let down on Day 1.The group has rallied round and is building support from many individuals and businesses to ensure that they can deliver on their commitment to their visitors, but there is still a long way to go…they are on Day 4 of 30, and there are many gaps in the diary.
Anyone who wishes to support by donating money, which they can use to buy food, in the event, that the cooking slots are not filled, can help through the GoFundMe link HERE
If you can support by supplying food, or cooking meals, then Project Touchdown can be contacted, directly, through their Facebook page HERE
Any problems please contact via the Derby News email.