10 September 2021

Nazmul Hasan is delivering free, hot halal meals to those in need this lockdown

| Lottie Twyford
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Nazmul Hasan

Nazmul Hasan with about half of the free halal meals he delivered one night in Canberra. Photo: Nazmul Hasan.

As the ACT prepares for its fourth week of lockdown, incredible tales of kindness and community support have already emerged and continue to do so.

The story of Nazmul Hasan is one of those.

When lockdown hit, Nazmul looked outwards to support his community by delivering halal meals to families in need.

In recent weeks, he’s delivered more than 800 hot restaurant meals to families.

“I know that as one person, I can’t help everyone, but I did want to do my little part,” he explained.

Nazmul is also set to support Afghan families who may arrive in Canberra in the coming weeks.

“These families will be traumatised, and as a fellow Muslim, I want to support them with kindness as I can,” he said.

READ ALSO Malhotra family dishes up free meals on wheels for locals in need

When things initially shut down, he quickly noticed a need among his immediate community for hot meals.

He contacted his friend from BD Dine, a Bangladeshi restaurant in Harrison, and arranged to purchase a range of dishes, like butter chicken and biryani, at a discounted rate to pass on to those who had contacted him directly.

On the first day, he delivered to two families. Soon he had over 100 requests and delivered 80 meals.

Every evening after work he collects the meals and then spends three or so hours delivering them around the area. He knows this is a sacrifice and says he owes it to his wife who does the heavy lifting with their children, homework and cooking in the evenings while he is out.

And because the meals are all halal, it means they are accessible to all, whether or not you eat halal usually, Nazmul says.

In Canberra since 2009, Nazmul has strong memories of growing up in Bangladesh when his mother would always cook extra meals and have them on hand if people in need would knock on the family’s door.

At the time, he didn’t understand why his mother would cook so much, but now he does.

READ ALSO YMCA wants to triple the number of meals delivered to struggling Canberrans

He’s inspired to do his charitable works, as his mother was, by faith. One of the five pillars of Islam is charity.

Now his own children ask what he is doing and whether they can come along as he makes the deliveries.

Nazmul hopes they will remember what he is doing as a legacy of sorts and be inspired to help their own communities when and where they can.

“I want them to appreciate what we have because we are so fortunate,” he said.

Initially, Nazmul was funding the meals himself, but as the service has grown, he has created a GoFundMe to receive community donations.

On Tuesday morning he had raised more than $9,500, and he will soon be joined by a group of delivery drivers to reduce the amount of time has he needs to spend on the road.

To order a free halal meal from Nazmul, use this order form. You can donate to his GoFundMe page here.

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Good on you young man. Proof that there are good young people in the world.

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