Since 2012, Give 30 has been making a difference in the lives of people that use food banks across Canada. Founder Ziyaad Mia came up with the idea to go hand in hand with Ramadan, “Since a key part of Ramadan is learning about hunger and having empathy for (and helping) those in need, it seemed a perfect way to raise money to fight hunger.”
Anyone can get involved through Give 30!
During Ramadan 2017, we spoke with a few participants in this year’s Give 30 campaign to get their reflections.
“Charity is the third pillar of Islam and very much a big part of my faith. It’s also amazing to be able to contribute with others who share the same motivations and be a part of that team of women.” shares Reem Khan, who first got involved through her Durham Muslim Mom’s group. “My parents are from a county where hunger is very common. I’ve seen it first-hand. We may not have people dying from hunger in the GTA but, yes there are people I have known who don’t know when their next meal is coming or have an empty fridge because they can only afford rent. The working poor is a real thing.”
Although Toronto is one of the wealthiest cities in Canada, one in eight households experienced food insecurity in 2015.
For the past 3 years the CivicMuslims have been holding a GIVTAR event in support of Give 30. The event raises funds for food banks in the area through events such as a silent auction.
Among the attendees was Mark Holland, Member of Parliament for Ajax and Parliamentary Secretary for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
“Hunger is not a choice it is a condition. The power of Ramadan is that it connects us to that suffering.” Says Mr. Holland who fasted his third Ramadan this year to bring light to the issue of Hunger in our Province.
Each evening of Ramadan, as the sun sets, those who have fasted gather for an Iftar, a celebration involving family and community members sharing the joy of food.
“Give 30 is a local initiative and it truly has an impact on our community,” adds Reem, “the idea of a community is that we help each other when one of us needs support. You might be in need now, maybe one day you can give back and impact someone else’s life that needs it as much as you need it right now. Don’t give up!”
We spoke with Sabiha Kasmani, a member of CivicMuslims to ask her a few questions about Give 30.
How did you first get involved with Give 30?
CivicMuslims is a diverse group of young Canadians with a passion for service and giving back. Two years ago, we were looking to plan a Ramadan iftar (the traditional breaking the fast dinner). Staying true to our motto of “social with a purpose” – we decided to host our iftar in support of Give 30, whereby all ticket sales for the iftar went towards the Give 30 campaign. It’s been a fruitful partnership and every year we garner more guests and raise more donations for Give 30.
What motivates you to be involved?
We love the simplicity and inclusivity of the idea behind Give 30 — anyone is encouraged to participate and every small contribution matters. It reminds us why we are fasting in the first place and how Ramadan is a force for good.
What is your favourite part about the initiative?
The people. Give 30 as a campaign has attracted some amazing people of all walks of life and backgrounds. We have been lucky to meet and get to know some incredible Give 30 ambassadors as well as food bank representatives who are all passionate about making a difference.
Have you or anyone you know been without food before?
One of the founding members of CivicMuslims shared at a previous #GIVTAR a story about how their family relied upon food banks when they first immigrated to Canada. This really touched all of us as it reminded us that anyone can face food insecurity at any time in their life, especially with the rising cost of living and financial burdens facing individuals and families. Hunger does not discriminate.
Are you planning anything new this year for Give 30?
This year, our Toronto iftar that supported Give 30 (#GIVTAR) featured Mark Holland, MP of Ajax, as our keynote speaker. Mark is incredibly inspirational. He fasts the full 30 days in Ramadan and is also a Give 30 ambassador. Beyond this, we had a record turnout nearing a 100 guests joining us at the Centre for Social Innovation. We were also lucky to have representatives from all three GTA-based food banks present this year and they each gave a short testimonial about the important work their food bank does.
What do your friends say when you tell them about your Give 30 gifts? Does it inspire them to join the cause?
Yes, everyone can relate to the idea and is inspired to support it. People are amazed to find out that this simple idea has raised more than $600K for food banks across Canada.
What would you say to a person that is thinking about getting involved but isn’t sure how to do it?
You can get involved in many different ways: you can contribute financially, you can become an ambassador for the campaign, you can help share it with your networks and contacts, and so on. Oh, and if you are interested in helping us plan next year’s #GIVTAR, drop us a line!
Ramadan 2017 may have come to an end, but the need for food assistance continues to increase. Now that school has come to an end for summer, kids don’t have access to the same breakfast and lunch programs as they do during the school year and parents skip their own meals to put food on the table.
Want to learn more? Check out 30 Give 30 Facts!