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Project Ramadan to Feed 500 Ottawa Families

OTTAWA – Muslim Welfare Centre (MWC) in Toronto, Canada partnered with Ottawa Food Bank on April 29 to fill 1,000 baskets of food to feed 500 poor families in the Canadian capital Ottawa during the holy Hijri month of Ramadan which is expected to start on May 15.

“Around 50 volunteers turned out to help. We don’t usually have to look far to find them. We’re so blessed to have so many young volunteers work with us. Each and every time we need them, they come to us in hordes,” Muhammad Iqbal Ali, MWC director, expressed to CBC.

The MWC began this initiative of ‘Project Ramadan’ in 2009, but it’s the first time the charitable organization has worked in the nation’s capital city.

Lina Bekhechi, 12, spent her day volunteering with Mayor Jim Watson, loading food into the purple and yellow cloth bags.

“It’s a really good cause, to help people that are more vulnerable or less fortunate,” she said.

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This time, the initiative comes to Ottawa to also raise awareness about Canadian food insecurity on Parliament Hill.

“Since its inception, Project Ramadan has fed approximately 15,000 people,” said Firaaz Azeez, special projects manager for MWC.

Project Ramadan to Feed 500 Ottawa Families - About Islam

Interestingly, Paul Brown, the food bank’s director of operations, explained that “the timing is ideal since the summer is one of the slowest times for food donations; it’s our down season when the amount of product that we end up purchasing far outweighs the amount of donations that are coming in.”

Ramadan is the holiest month in Islamic calendar. It is expected to start this year on Wednesday, May 16.

Because the Hijri Calendar is between 10 and 12 days shorter than the Gregorian Calendar which is used as an international civil year, the Hijri year begins 10 to 12 days earlier every Gregorian year. Thus, Ramadan shifts through the seasons every year in a 33-year cycle.

According to Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey, there were 1,053,945 Muslims in Canada, or about 3.2% of the population, making Islam the second largest religion in the country after Christianity.