Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi’s foundation, Stop War Start Tennis, has supported more than 2,500 families in Pakistan with ration bags since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pakistani is nowhere near done helping his community, though.
The two-time Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year in May launched a charity auction, Stars Against Hunger, in conjunction with his foundation to raise funds to provide as many ration bags as possible for the Pakistani daily workers who have been unable to work during these tough times. Qureshi’s goal is to support 10,000 more families.
“I’d like to make a huge request to all the tennis fans and the tennis fraternity to help me out with this cause,” Qureshi said. “All the proceedings, every single penny that is raised from this auction, will go to distributing ration bags among the poor and the needy and the daily wagers.”
Some auction items already sold include a signed pair of Roger Federer’s shoes ($20,000) and an autographed shirt from Rafael Nadal (€10,000). The Stars Against Hunger campaign has so far raised enough money to provide rations for 2,000 families. Distribution of those rations begins Thursday.
Qureshi says that his hometown of Lahore, Pakistan is soon going into lockdown because of COVID-19, making the ration bags — which feed a family of five with flour, rice, oil, grains, tea, milk and soap — even more important.
“My city Lahore is going into a lockdown once again for 15 days,” Qureshi said. “We have a lot of people [who are] needy who are going to suffer from this. The rate of coronavirus is actually growing in Pakistan… it’s a really tough moment for us.”