MSA food drive honors “Our Three Winners”

Lucy Burnhams, News copy editor

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The Muslim Student Association (MSA) of Athens Drive has rebooted the “Feed their Legacy” food drive honoring “Our Three Winners” Razan Abu-Salha, Yusor Abu-Salha and Deah Barakat, after their tragic deaths in a shooting in Chapel Hill over a year ago.

Last year, the food drive, created by English Teacher Patricia Hornick, received over 1,600 cans. The cans collected were given to Food Banks in the greater Raleigh area, one of the many service organizations all three victims were passionate about. All were apart of the United Muslim Relief non-profit, which worked to help communities around the world providing aid to those in need. Both Barakat and Yusor Abu-Salha were on track towards gaining a dental medical degree at UNC Chapel-Hill and participated with the Syrian-American Medical society. Razan was studying at North Carolina State University pursuing an undergraduate degree in Architecture.

The lives of the two former Athens Drive students, Yusor and Razan, and the former Broughton student, Barakat, were lost Feb. 10, 2015 at Barakat and Yusor Abu-Salha’s home in Chapel Hill. Both Razan and Yusor were apart of the MSA and the current MSA hopes to honor their legacy by creating the food drive into an annual occurrence.

“They [Yusor and Razan] were Muslim students in the MSA at Athens and the community here is very well knit,” said Rana Farawi, co-president of the MSA.

From this tragedy came an inspiring story of continuing their legacies. The “Our Three Winners” endowment was created to share their story and collect donations for humanitarian organizations that the three felt passionate about; including offering free dental programs, feeding the homeless, as well as funding the United Muslim Relief. The organization also organizes events around the country to promote volunteering such as the event in Baltimore Feb. 10, offering a free dental drive.

The organization is one of many that honors Deah, Yusor, and Razan’s legacy and hopes to honor the mission they pursued.

“The mission is to build on the work that Our Three Winners did and continue the legacy of altruism and benevolence in a sustainable way,” a statement made by the “Our Three Winners” endowment.

This mission is also shown through Athens Drive with the creation of the Food Drive, the MSA recounts on a change of outlook after the shooting.

“When this tragic thing happened we knew that instead of just being mournful about it, we had to keep their legacy going and continue the community work that was important to them,” said Farawi.

The Food Drive started Feb. 10 , and ended March 4. Students submitted cans to their first period teacher and the winning first period received a free Bojangles breakfast. Sandra Sanderson’s Microsoft word class won, collecting over 350 cans, adding towards the total of 1,200 cans collected this year.

The MSA hopes to instill a sense of community through the food drive and inspire others like Razan, Yusor and Barakat did.

“You have to help others because that’s what makes a community stronger and to unify communities on small levels like religious or high school also unifies us as a whole, ” said Farawi.


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