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Grenfell Tower fire: Forest Gate Islamic charity feeds and clothes victims

PUBLISHED: 09:00 17 June 2017

A Muslim aid charity took food and clothing across London to help those displaced by a fire that killed 17 people.

Grenfell Tower in north Kensington caught fire in the early hours of Wednesday, June 14, causing tower block occupants to leap out of windows and throw children to safety as the 24-storey building crumbled.

As donations poured in from the capital’s well-wishers, Shakil Malji mobilised Forest Gate charity Abdullah Aid to help the community deal with the aftermath of the inferno.

“The struggle is still going on for those people,” he said. “We’ve been offering our assistance to try and make that area a peaceful environment again.”

The charity, which is based in Upton Lane, Forest Gate, fed victims as well as offering assistance to emergency services.

Shakil, who lives in Dunbar Road, Forest Gate, said Muslims from across the capital had joined him at the Westway Sports & Fitness Centre, which has become a hub of assistance for the victims of the fire.

“A lot of Muslim people, communities and charities got together as one and were doing a lot of fantastic work together,” he said. “It just shows that people are able to get together and work as a team.

“I want to thank every single person that was involved in assisting – they did a fantastic job.”

Shakil, who founded Abdullah Aid, named it after his son, who died in December 2015 aged just 13 months after contracting spinal muscular atrophy when he was five months old.

Shakil said his son’s illness made him realise “life is about helping people”.

But he warned against people sending more aid to west London, where food is rapidly wasting and the logistics of purging the site of excess donations is presenting a problem for volunteers.

He also said food donations being made at Newham drop-off points such as Upton Lane were perishing.

“We’re asking everybody not to send any more items,” he said. “There’s a lot of stuff going to waste.

“We urge people to stop sending things because there are mountains and mountains of it.”

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