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PharmD students, fiancés support grocery store employees

May 21, 2020

Muzhda Rezai ’21 was in a grocery store checkout line when she sensed something was wrong.

“The woman working the cash register seemed troubled. I asked if she was OK,” said Rezai, a University of the Pacific PharmD student. “She said ‘people yell at us if we are out of hand sanitizer, other products or certain foods. It’s very hard to come to work and have that happen.’ ”

Usof Hashim ’20 delivers a gift pack of essentials to an employee at the Food Maxx in Brentwood.

Rezai and her fiancé, Usof Hashim ’20, PharmD, decided to act.

They put together bags filled with essential products for essential workers – gloves, hand sanitizer, masks, lotion, mouthwash, lip balm and more. Rezai and Hashim delivered the bags to employees at the Food Maxx grocery store in Brentwood (video). 

“Brentwood is where I am from and Food Maxx has been one of our family grocery stores,” Hashim said. “We wanted to have a community, hometown feeling to our outreach.” 

Gratitude for their efforts was immediate. 

“For so many grocery store workers, they have to work during the pandemic to feed their families or pay their mortgage,” said Rezai, from San Ramon. “They are at work to help support others in the community. We wanted them to know people care. Some actually were in tears when we handed them the bags. One told me ‘you absolutely made my day.’ ” 

Gift bags also went to employees at the Trader Joe’s in Brentwood and a small Middle Eastern market.

“We would like to expand our efforts, but we are a couple of college students so there are limits to what we can do,” Hashim said. “We are checking into a Go Fund Me page.” 

For now, they are pleased to have helped more than 75 grocery store workers while raising awareness to their plight. 

“You hear a lot in the news about people helping out doctors and other health care workers. And they deserve the support,” Rezai said. “But it is important that the people working in grocery stores get support too.”

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