The weather was below freezing with a minus-14-degree wind chill in the Chicago suburb of Morton Grove, but when neighbors opened their front doors, they were met with warm greetings from a family. Sabeel Ahmed, his wife Asma Naheed and their three kids left handwritten notes at 40 of their neighbors’ houses during the cold snap, offering to pick up groceries, medicine, or remove snow.
Ahmed didn’t expect anything in return, he’s just trying to look out for his neighbors. He’s the director of GainPeace, an Islamic outreach program and says he hopes his family’s actions will highlight an important part of the Muslim faith: caring for neighbors. “Despite racial and religious differences, at the end of the day, we have to meet,” he explains.
The notes also included an open invitation to the neighbors to “drop in to our home for hot tea and samosas.” Ahmed says he hopes that his family’s gesture will inspire others to do the same. “Hopefully there will be more connections made,” he says, “and neighbors will carry it on, as a ripple effect.”