Muslim Families Network helps thousands of Calgarians with human essentials

Muslim Families Network helps thousands of Calgarians with human essentials

Muslim Families Network helps thousands of Calgarians with human essentials

The essentials in any household are food, clothing and furnishings because without them the Muslim Families Network Society (MFNS) says it’s hard for anyone to survive, let alone find employment.

“It is the Ramadan and the month of giving and sharing,” said Idrees Khan, society chair. “Charity is the third pillar of Islam so we are trying our best that people are being helped, we give them whatever we have, and we share with them.”

The annual halal food and clothing distribution takes place March 24th and in 2023, the one-day blitz helped more than 8,000 underprivileged members of communities in Calgary. This year its projected outreach is 10,000 because Khan says unemployment is on the rise and the price of groceries continues to increase.

“Prices are going so high now and people are living, you know they don’t have jobs,” she said. “It is making it harder for them so this is what motivates us to help them all.”

Organizers say without the basic items collected in the annual drive, individuals and families cannot move to the critical steps of integrating into society. MFNS supplements the support available through other organizations but in some cases, it is the sole provider of these services.

“It can be refugees, it can be single mothers, it can also be new immigrants but we have this past year we have found another category which is refugee claimants,” said Khan. “We are getting different people from different backgrounds, Canadians, whoever is facing the challenges at this moment.”

HAMPERS

Toks Bakinson is a board member and says MFNS provides food hampers throughout the year to needy families. But the distribution event accepts and distributes clothing donations and anything else that might help a family new to Canada.

“This is also an opportunity for our community members to bring in some of your donations that they’ve been keeping for the year because this is the one time where we accept clothing donations,” she said.

Bakinson is hoping for 700 volunteers on March 24th because he says everyone is fasting for Ramadan so the volunteers will be broken into three groups that day to ease the workload. She says cash donations are also welcome.

“We would love gift cards and cash,” she said. “What we do with the cash donations, we use it to purchase food or we use it to purchase gift cards as well — so we take any kind of donation.”

BORN IN SYRIA, FLED WAR TO LEBANON

Lara Hussain is 17 years old and has volunteered at MFNS for the last four years. Hussain was born in Syria and fled the war to Lebanon. She and her mother moved to Calgary in 2015 and she remembers needing to use the food bank at MFNS.

Now she wants to give back to others.

“This organization was always there for us, it was a stepping stone for us, especially for my mom, it was such a big part of our lives,” she said. “It makes me feel like I’m giving back to have what I got, especially during Ramadan.”

MFNS is a non-profit organization that works to enhance the physical, social, and spiritual well-being of individuals and families in Calgary and area by providing education and awareness, poverty relief and social supports based on Islamic principles and values. MFNS serves community members in need regardless of religion.

The distribution event takes place March 24th from 8 am – 2:30 pm at the Temple Community Center, 167 Templegreen Rd. N.E

Learn more about the annual drive here: www.muslimfamilynetwork.org.

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