Religious communities across the country are uniting in service projects this week to honor one of President Obama's faith-based initiatives.
More than 3,000 interfaith projects have come out of the United We Serve Initiative, an interfaith effort of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, this summer.
To recognize its accomplishments, President Obama designated Aug. 31-Sept. 6 as Interfaith Service Week during which Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus and people of other faiths are working together to overcome religious divides while strengthening local communities.
"Communities of faith are responding to President Obama's call to service in historic numbers and working together to strengthen our nation," said Joshua DuBois, executive director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. "President Obama applauds their service and looks forward to their continued engagement, through the United We Serve initiative and beyond."
Some of the highlighted interfaith projects this week include Jewish, Hindu, and evangelical Christian college students joining with the Muslim Students Association to hand out food, clothing and hygiene kits to the homeless in downtown Orlando.
The evangelical students are from the megachurch Northland, a Church Distributed where senior pastor Joel C. Hunter is a member of the advisory counsel for the Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
In Washington, D.C., the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue will host "Fast 2 Feed," an interfaith Iftar, on Sept. 3 . People of diverse faiths will share the traditional meal that ends the daily fast during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month. As people share the Iftar dinner, participants will talk about how they can better work together on existing as well as potential projects to serve the greater Washington community.
The Iftar meal is free and open to the public, but participants are encouraged to bring canned or non-perishable food items to donate to The Salvation Army.
"For religious organizations, serving people in need is an integral part of their mission," said Nicola Goren, acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. "United We Serve builds on that reality by encouraging interfaith cooperation to continue and expand the important service that is currently being accomplished."