Piety, togetherness, and charity are some of the qualities that Muslims worldwide are asked to follow during Ramadan.
Marking both the end of Islam’s holiest month and the end of National Volunteer Week, members of Calgary’s Ismaili Muslim community volunteered at the Calgary Food Bank on Saturday to sort the over 7,000 lbs of food they collected for Ramadan.
“Volunteers have come together and collected various food donations for the Calgary Food Bank. It’s been great to see the participation,” said Alisha Visanji, a volunteer with the Ismaili Muslim community.
“At the end, it’s been a great opportunity for us to come together and volunteer to sort all those food donations.”
The community had consistently between 20 and 30 volunteers working to collect food donations during April and had another 30 at the Food Bank on April 22.
Ismaili Muslims have been collecting food for the food bank for the past 15 years during Ramadan.
“What’s really cool about this week is that not only is it the conclusion of Ramadan, but it’s also today includes National Volunteer Week,” said Visanji.
“The theme is volunteering weaves us together: so the ability for us to come together not only as a Muslim community to volunteer and give back, but to partner with the Calgary Food Bank and really come together and help local Calgarians.”
Donations of food, time, and money needed more than ever by the Calgary Food Bank
Betty Jo Kaiser, Public Relations and Communications Coordinator for the Calgary Food Bank, said that the organization was very appreciative of the support given by the Ismaili Muslim community.
The 7,000 lbs of food donated would go a long way to supporting food insecurity for Calgarians, Kaiser said.
“The situation we’re now in is food in food out. The food they’re sorting now will be going into hampers in the next couple of weeks,” she said.
Kaiser said that the food bank has seen demand rise 18 per cent year-over-year for the first three months of 2023.
Continued support from community groups or individuals is critical, she said.
“We’ve always known that the problem of food insecurity and hunger is a 365 days a year concern—a challenge,” she said.
“But more than ever in this inflationary environment with the higher cost of groceries and living, it is just so important that people can do anything [to help].”
Staples can be donated in most grocery stores, after shopping
Kaiser said that even just purchasing an extra can of soup or box of pasta at the grocery store, and placing it into the Calgary Food Bank hampers located in those locations would make a big difference.
Every dollar that Calgarians donate, the food bank is also able to turn into five dollars of food for those in need, she said.
“If people are able to if you’re in a position that you can give funds, that’s awesome,” Kaiser said.
Among the most needed items are peanut butter, canned vegitables, canned tomatoes, and pasta (preferably whole wheat for the nutritional value).
“We really pride ourselves in providing a healthy food hamper… and at this time of year also we’re just getting ready to take care of our youngest clients, so diapers and formula formula really tops the list too,” Kaiser said.
For more information see www.calgaryfoodbank.com.