Edmonton Muslim association donates care packages to families in social housing for Ramadan

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Edmonton Muslim association donates care packages to families in social housing for Ramadan

Lauren Boothby | April 25, 2020
Some Edmonton Muslims are celebrating Ramadan by helping those struggling financially through the COVID-19 pandemic.The Muslim Association of Canada is raising money to donate at least 500 care packages to families living in the city’s subsidized housing. Along with the Capital Region Housing, youth groups from the association are delivering care packages with food and treats to tenants who sign up for a package. Volunteer Yasin Cetin said charity is an important part of the month-long holiday.

Edmonton Muslim association donates care packages to families in social housing for Ramadan

“Sometimes community members are just in need and they can’t afford food at home so they’ll come to the mosque … to break their fast. There is a need in the wider community as well, folks are struggling or out of work,” he said Friday.

“The idea of providing care packages that are open to everyone, regardless of their faith, sort of came to be a very tangible project that we could take on, and something that we can get the community excited about.”

Ramadan, the month of dawn-to-dusk fasting which started Thursday and ends with Eid al-Fitr May 24, is normally celebrated with festivals, feasts and helping others.

But with COVID-19 forcing large gatherings to be shut down, and food banks and social services expecting to see higher demands, Cetin says this is a way they can celebrate their faith and do something good for the community, together.

“I think it’s a good morale boost, and a good emotional boost, for people who are fasting, people who are struggling, people who are just trying to make ends meet, and who are stuck inside houses and maybe want to contribute to something bigger than themselves,” he said.

The care packages include dry staples like rice, pasta, canned goods and oatmeal, but also fresh food like potatoes, onions and juice. They also include treats like chocolate and cookies to keep with the spirit of the holiday. Most packages will be delivered in mid-May.

Greg Dewling, CEO of Capital Region Housing, says they’ve never done a food drive before. When the Muslim association approached them he said it seemed like a good idea they would be happy to support. Volunteers from both organizations are putting the packages together.

“For many of our families that we help, when they get towards the end of the month … they’re starting to run out of funds in order to put food on the table. They’re just deciding whether or not they’re going to keep the money to pay rent on the first of the month, or feed their children. Nobody wants to be put in that circumstance,” he said in an interview.

The Muslim Association of Canada had raised around $10,000 for the Edmonton drive as of Friday morning. The organization raised more than $77,000 for similar charitable events country-wide within the same time frame.

Read the original article here.

Khalid Karana, a volunteer with the Muslim Association of Canada, which has partnered with Capital Region Housing, packs care packages on Friday, April 24, 2020, for those in need during the month of Ramadan. GREG SOUTHAM / Postmedia

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