He stopped opponents tackling his quarterback on the field, but anyone who wants to tackle hunger is welcome at his table.
Former Winnipeg Blue Bomber and CFL legend Ibrahim "Obby" Khan is part of the Give 30 team in Winnipeg, which is part of a national grassroots campaign to unite Canadians across the nation to fight against hunger.
Organizers say Give 30 was founded in 2012 by Toronto lawyer and social activist Ziyaad Mia to motivate individuals of all ethnic beliefs and cultural backgrounds to give to food banks during Ramadan. Ramadan is the month when Muslims don’t eat or drink anything between dawn and sunset for 30 days, including water. This year, Ramadan began on June 28 and will end on July 27.
Royalwood resident Khan, now a restaurateur who owns Shawarma Khan in the Exchange District, recently teamed up with East India Company to host the First Annual Fast & Furious Feast event in support of Winnipeg Harvest.
The sold-out event, which attracted more than 260 guests and raised almost $5,000, was held at Shawarma Khan (225 McDermot Ave.) on July 11 from 9 p.m. to midnight. Guests were treated to a delicious meal catered by the two restaurants.
"Ramadan is the perfect time to build community by supporting the amazing work of Winnipeg Harvest in sharing food," Khan, 33, told The Lance prior to the event. "This event is an opportunity for people to enjoy some great food, have lots of fun, meet new people and hopefully learn a bit about Ramadan."
On a personal level, the local football legend — who played for the Bombers between 2006 and 2011 —said there were several reasons he wanted become involved with the Give 30 campaign.
"This is a way for me to give back to the community and it also ties in with part of my faith. Plus, of course, the people at Winnipeg Harvest are amazing. Fasting is difficult and if you can do that in the summer, with 18 hours of daylight, when you finally have that first sip of water and bite of food, you feel so grateful. Many people in Winnipeg don’t have that," Khan said.
He also reminded community members that now is a great time to step up to help Winnipeg Harvest restock its food supplies, as the organization has a year-round mandate to help the community.
"Their food bank is very low, as people tend to focus on giving in the winter, which is natural," he said, adding anyone who brings a canned food item to Shawarma Khan to donate to the campaign will receive a free food item in return.
This year, Give 30 is partnering with nine food banks across five provinces. The campaign runs until Fri., Sept. 5. Organizers say more than 60,000 Manitobans depend on a food bank every month.
For more information, or to donate, go online at www.give30.ca or www.winnipegharvest.org