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Sarnia Muslim Association's Ramadan food drive underway

Sarnia Mosque

The Sarnia Muslim Association is actively collecting food donations for The Inn of The Good Shepherd and The Women’s Interval Home as a part of their annual Ramadan Food Drive.

“The Ramadan Food Bank has been going on for at least 10 years,” said Dr. Muaiad Elhag, education and outreach secretary for the Sarnia Muslim Association. “This year we're canvassing the Sarnia community. Approximately 480 homes were canvassed [for donations] so far.

“We have a main collection at our own Mosque,” he added. “When they come in for breaking their fast and for prayers, they bring in donations and so far we've filled at least four large bins of donations in the Mosque itself.”

Community members can drop off donations Mondays to Thursdays between 3-6 p.m. at The Math Tutors Learning Centre located at 108 Mitton St. S., which is currently acting as a donation depot for the fundraiser.

Elhag is also a physician at Bluewater Health, where his emergency department colleagues have been collecting items as well.

The Sarnia Muslim Association takes time to listen to the needs of the local community before deciding where to donate and focus their Ramadan fundraising initiatives, he explained.

“We try to engage with our community and find out where the most need is. We've connected with different organizations in the past to find out where the greatest need might be,” Elhag continued, adding that many members volunteer regularly at the Inn of the Good Shepherd's soup kitchen. 

“The reason why I included the Women's Interval Home this year is… I do work in the emergency department. So I know how much they do for the community to take people out of homes where there's domestic violence, or issues like that,” Elhag explained. “And the people that go to the Women's Interval Home are not just the women in these situations, but also the children that are involved in association.”

“With food drives, a lot of the time we get little healthy snacks that might be helpful to give to children who might even continue to go to school while they are temporarily staying at the Women's Interval Home,” Elhag said. “So we thought, those specific donations that might be helpful to the women's interval home, we will redirect to them there this year.”

Ramadan is a sacred month celebrated by almost two billion Muslims around the world, Elhag explained. It is the time when Muslims fast from dawn to sunset while simultaneously detaching from materialism and embracing their connection to God. Muslims continue to maintain all their regular duties while also engaging in charity, community and fostering the ties of kinship.

“Ramadan at its most basic, people just think of it as a time of fasting. But fasting comes with self-discipline, it also teaches you a lot about yourself, your own patience,” Elhag added. “It teaches you about habit formation for a lot of Muslims. But in its essence, it's really just so that we get closer to our faith.”

“As you can imagine, the issue in Palestine and Gaza have really impacted [the Muslim] community across the world. It's given a lot of people sleepless nights, and it's been even more tough to see that the Canadian Government has not done enough to stop the killing and the effect that it's had on people in Gaza, including women and Children,” Elhag said.

“It's something that we talk about all the time. And we pray for them regularly."

Donations will be collected at The Math Tutors Learning Centre at 108 Mitton St. South until April 7th, Monday- Thursday 3-6pm.

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