On Sunday morning, the kitchen of the Muslim Foundation Inc. Mosque in Somerset was filled with good smells and friendly conversation as a group of volunteers prepared 350 meals for homeless folks in New York and New Jersey.
The event was part of a larger "Weekend of Twinning," held from Nov. 18 through 20.
The purpose of the weekend is to facilitate events between Muslim and Jewish people to promote greater understanding and community between the two, according to Walter Ruby of the New York-based Foundation for Ethnic Understanding.
According to a release from Muslims Against Hunger, more than 125 events are being held around the world as part of the Weekend of Twinning.
"Each Jew and each Muslim is obligated to help those most in need," Ruby said.
Adult and student volunteers, as well as a group from Rutgers University prepared tandoori chicken, rice pilaf, salad, vegetables and fruit. A kosher and vegetarian option of chickpea salad was also prepared, as well as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Zamir Hassan, founder of the Muslims Against Hunger Project said about 100 meals would be taken to a shelter in Basking Ridge, while another 150 would be taken to Manhattan, where they would be handed out to homeless on the street.
Ruby said the group planned to visit 53rd St. and Lexington Ave. in New York, a spot where many homeless people congregate.
An Orthodox Jewish outreach group called "Masbiah" would be meeting them in New York to assist in handing out the meals, he said.
Additionally, the volunteers held an interfaith luncheon and prayer service following the morning preparation.
Marshal Anjum, 26, of Shalom-Salaam, a Muslim and Jewish student organization at Rutgers University said the group is working to build bridges between the Jewish and Muslim communities.
"We thought community service was a great way to go about it," she said.