British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday honoured and recognised the 'One Million Meals' campaign founded by four Pakistanis through the Points of Light Award for their extraordinary services for the National Health Services (NHS), key workers, the homeless, and people in need.
Bilal Bin Saqib, Momin Saqib, Raja Suleman Raza and Muhammad Arif Anis launched the 'One Million Meals' campaign during the lockdown in 2020, which has seen over 100,000 meals sent to NHS and key workers, the homeless, and people in need.
Points of Light are outstanding individual volunteers – people who are making a change in their community.
First established by President George H. W. Bush in 1990, UK Points of Light was developed in partnership with the US programme and launched at 10 Downing Street in April 2014.
Since then hundreds of people have been named Points of Light by the British premier, highlighting an enormous array of innovative and inspirational volunteering across the length and breadth of Britain.
The campaign received support from sporting stars such as former footballer David Beckham and boxer Amir Khan, and inspired hundreds of volunteers to help with communications and deliveries, and local companies who donated food and healthy drinks.
Operating in more than 200 locations through 47 hospitals, trusts and food banks, the initiative aims to continue providing nutritious meals whilst the nation recovers from COVID-19.
Raja Suleman Raza, who is also chief executive of a restaurant chain that initiated the donations to the 'One Million Meals' campaign, said that “It is an absolute honour for me to be recognised for the Points of Light Award by the prime minister for our efforts during this pandemic. This award means a lot to me, I intend to continue serving the vulnerable communities around us who are further exposed to larger risk due to this pandemic and require our support more than ever before".
Author and expert on leadership Muhammad Arif Anis said it was a humbling moment to be recognised by the prime minister.
“The real honour has been to serve humanity in the moment of trial. The One Million Meals campaign was a Pakistani diaspora response to a humanitarian crisis above any divisions in society. it was a response above the lines of race, ethnicity and religion, exhibiting a British spirit that is needed now, more than ever," he added.
Bilal said that he was extremely humbled to have received this recognition from the honourable prime minister himself.
“Our ongoing work for communities has been with the pure intent of improving lives as much as we possibly can. Providing ease in water accessibility to the water-deprived communities has always been a cause that's close to my heart,” he added.
Momin also shared that it was not just a huge honour, but it's extremely encouraging to be a recipient of the Points of Light Award.
“I believe serving society has to be at the core of our being. We as global citizens must work towards making this world a better place in whatever capacity we can," he stated.
The UK’s prime minister's office released the news today to coincide with Eidul Fitr as millions of Muslims in the kingdom were celebrating the end of the holy month of Ramazan.