Ramadan food-bank campaign Give 30 expands across Canada
Tied to the Muslim month of fasting, but open to all, fundraiser comes at a lean time for food banks.
Lawyer Ziyaad Mia had the idea of encouraging people to hand over the money they save on coffee during Ramadan to the Daily Bread Food Bank. His Give 30 campaign, open to everyone, soon took on a life of its own, expanding to Calgary and beyond this year. Muslims will begin a holy month of daytime fasting on July 9 this year.
A Toronto fundraiser that encourages people to give to a food bank during Ramadan is spreading across the country.
Toronto lawyer Ziyaad Mia launchedGive 30 last year, deciding to divert daily coffee money he saved during the Muslim holy month of fasting to a good cause and persuading others to do the same.
It struck a chord, culminating with nearly $40,000 going to Daily Bread Food Bank, the largest supplier of emergency food in the GTA.
“I was happily shocked,” said Mia. He had hoped to expand the campaign — which is intended for everyone, regardless of religion — eventually, though not this year.
But offers of support poured in from cities across the country, and this year’s Give 30 will see Calgary and likely other cities participating.
“This thing now has a life of its own, and I’m not going to be an obstacle to it,” said Mia. “I want to let this thing go where it wants to go.”
Give 30 will run during Ramadan, from July 9 to Aug. 7, though donations can be made any time before Labour Day.
Ramadan is, in part, meant to remind people to be thankful for food and to feel the pangs of going without, in order to foster empathy and compassion, said Mia.
Just as his family donated to food banks during the Christian holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas, Mia thought Ramadan could inspire people, regardless of their religion, to give to those in need, he said.
That resonated with Michele Erskine, director of marketing for CBS Outdoor Canada, which raised money for Give 30 last year in its Toronto office. This year, it’s expanding the fundraising effort to Calgary, with donations going to the Calgary food bank.
“I really liked how it’s associated with Ramadan but open to all faiths,” said Erskine. “I thought that’s great, because ours, like many Canadian workplaces, is a diverse environment.”
Islamic Relief Canada, an international aid and development charity, is running a parallel campaign this year, matching donations through Give 30 or the Daily Bread Food Bank dollar-for-dollar.
People paid more than 1.1 million visits to food banks in the GTA in 2012, according to a Daily Bread report.
Gail Nyberg, Daily Bread executive director, said the food bank budgets money for the summer months, when donations tend to slow down.
“Summer is a really busy time in terms of clients, but a very slow time in terms of giving,” said Nyberg. “This is a time, during Ramadan, when we can talk about the importance of giving. It reminds people that there’s a need in July and August; it’s not just a winter thing.” http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/07/04/ramadan_foodbank_campaign_give_30_expands_across_canada.html