After knowing what it feels like to be hungry during Ramadan, a group of Muslim students are reaching out to their own community and collecting food for those who stay hungry every day.
Ramadan begins on Tuesday, July 9, when many Muslims begin their month-long fast during daylight hours. The fast has inspired 12 local student volunteers to kick off the Cans For Kindness Campaign this summer and will go door to door in four Mountain neighbourhoods looking for food donations.
"We know what it's like to be hungry, but we always know that we are going to have food on the table at the end of the day, where some people don't know where their next meal is coming from," said Tahirah Seta, 16.
The Barton Secondary student says the fast gets her group motivated to work extra hard, get as many donations as they can and give back to the community.
The Neighbour 2 Neighbour Centre is happy to be partnering with the campaign. Director of community foods Sara Collyer says the help is welcome. They are always in need of halal foods and staples such as canned protein, dried legumes and beans, rice and fresh produce.
"Particularly in the summer months we are very, very low so we are absolutely thrilled they are doing this," Collyer said.
It's common for Muslim groups to do charitable work during Ramadan. Last year Give 30, a Toronto-based fundraiser, raised $40,000 for the Daily Bread Food Bank. This year, cities across the country are participating in the campaign.
The Hamilton volunteers chose four days to head into the designated areas to pick up the goods. Three days before each pick-up, they will distribute posters detailing what they're looking for and when they will be coming to get it. There will also be drop boxes at mosques across the city.
All of the volunteers are members of the North American Spiritual Revival (NASR), a not-for-profit organization that aims to build capacity within the community through civic engagement, education, spiritual and cultural programs.
St. Thomas Moore graduate Yousuf Birama was also a volunteer last year and says they gathered 1,100 pounds of food for the local food bank. This year, their goal is 2,000 pounds and they expect to hit about 150 houses each week.
"It's a win-win situation, Neighbour 2 Neighbour receives the food in the summer and during Ramadan, we are encouraged to do good deeds," said Birama, 16.
The pick-ups are scheduled for July 16, 18, 25 and Aug. 1.
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