Muslim charity fasts to help Harvest feed hungry

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With Ramadan just around the corner, Muslims around the world are beginning to prepare themselves for one of the most significant times in the Islamic calendar. This year in Winnipeg, there's a new campaign that hopes to make Ramadan, which begins on June 28, a celebration shared by everyone.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/06/2014 (3030 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

With Ramadan just around the corner, Muslims around the world are beginning to prepare themselves for one of the most significant times in the Islamic calendar. This year in Winnipeg, there’s a new campaign that hopes to make Ramadan, which begins on June 28, a celebration shared by everyone.

This morning, the Give 30 campaign will officially launch at Winnipeg Harvest. Give 30 is the brain child of Toronto Muslim lawyer and environmentalist Ziyaad Mia and its premise is simple: During the month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, they donate the money saved from not buying coffee or lunch to their local food bank.

What makes Give 30 so powerful is that it reaches out beyond the Muslim community, encouraging everyone to participate in the campaign. Whether it be giving up your morning cup of coffee or bringing lunch from home instead of buying it, those who are not fasting can still tally up their savings after 30 days and donate it.

In its first year, Give 30 raised $40,000 in Toronto alone. Last year, three more provinces joined the campaign and raised a total of $90,000. This year the campaign comes to Winnipeg and already local organizations and businesses are excited to partner with it. Winnipeg Harvest is the official food bank that will receive all Give 30 donations. Former Blue Bomber and local restaurateur Ibrahim Obby Khan is one of Winnipeg’s Give 30 ambassadors.

As a Muslim Winnipegger, I cannot help but get excited about a campaign inspired by our faith and yet shared by everyone. What better motivator than Ramadan — the month of fasting — to remind all of us about the problems of hunger and poverty in our city?

And yet the impact of Give 30 goes beyond that. It’s become a vehicle by which communities can come together and work for a common cause, regardless of culture or background. As a person of faith who witnessed the events of the past year in Quebec, too often religion is portrayed as a cause of division or fear. Give 30 challenges that assumption and offers a counter-narrative: that under our differing beliefs, we all share common values and a social responsibility.

Building bridges between communities and increasing awareness is a natural outcome of Give 30. As part of the diverse Winnipeg Give 30 team, my colleagues have come to learn more about Ramadan and Muslims, as I have come to learn and witness the reality of poverty in our city. As a mother of two young boys, I realize 45 per cent of the recipients of Manitoban food banks being children is not just a statistic, it’s a crisis.

Visiting Winnipeg Harvest for the first time last week, for a Give 30 meeting, I was shocked at how empty the shelves were. Typically, we associate mass donations to Winnipeg Harvest and the provision of food hampers with Christmas, but now in the summer months food banks fall off the radar for many.

Give 30 hopes to make Ramadan a time for all Canadians to step up to the challenge of tackling hunger and poverty across our neighbourhoods. A time for building solidarity and community through shared experiences and principles. A time for creating a new discourse: that it is possible for faith to inspire, mobilize, unify and act as a catalyst for social change.Ramadan has become a Canadian celebration.

 

Nadia Kidwai is the program manager for the Canadian Muslim Leadership Institute and an ambassador for Winnipeg’s Give 30 campaign. For more information about Give 30 and how to donate to your local food bank, visit: www.give30.ca.

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