The Ismaili Jamatkhana and Center (IJKC) in Sugar Land was transformed into a bustling site on December 7, 2018, as countless individuals made their way to donate thousands of pounds of food. For the third consecutive year, IJKC hosted the annual ABC 13 Share Your Holidays Food Drive where over 100 I-CERV volunteers gather to help collect, package, and transport over 30,000 pounds of donated food to the East Fort Bend Human Needs Ministry, located in Stafford, Texas.

The day began at 6:00 a.m. with I-CERV volunteers preparing for the cars, vans, buses, and trucks to arrive with cans of non-perishable goods. The food drive invited numerous school groups and community leaders, and leveraged many local business, organization, and school partnerships with rousing success.

The would not have succeeded without the support of the students from schools all over the greater Houston area. Over 600 students from various schools put on holiday-themed performances for the donors who had taken time out to bring in goods for the drive. From 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., donors were treated to delightful performances showcasing the impressive talents of the students, ranging from choirs to dance groups. The energy and excitement of the event was captured by ABC 13’s cameras and broadcast to the greater Houston area, as the IJKC event was shown via live coverage to the city.

The third annual Share Your Holidays Food Drive illustrated the Ismaili community’s continued desire to assist their neighbors in need within Fort Bend County. It has forged an invaluable bond with the diverse communities in the area and has allowed a constant exchange of dialogue. Ken DeMerchant, Fort Bend County’s Commissioner Elect for Precinct 4, remarked, “The leadership here, they are phenomenal. One of the best-run food drives I have seen. This event wouldn’t be possible without the numerous volunteers that [the Ismaili Jamatkhana and Center] have.”

Recognizing the committed display of service and response from diverse communities, Mr. DeMerchant pledged, “to bring this whole community together and give them all a seat at the table,” when he takes office in the upcoming year, and to encourage discourse and harness the power of diversity within the community.

The food collected at IJKC will be used by the East Fort Bend Human Needs Ministry to provide food assistance to over 2,500 families. In a season celebrating joy, unity, and giving, the Ismaili community has stepped up for its neighbors in need, ready to serve and provide aid to those less fortunate. Special recognition is extended to the Stafford Municipal School District, the Honor Roll School, the and Fort Bend Independent School District, for their support in implementing the Share Your Holidays Food Drive.