Al Rashid Mosque provides 20,000 meals to communities in need, thanks to Edmonton Community Foundation Grant
Ramadan is one of the most sacred months of the year for Muslims, and even though COVID-19 disrupted this year’s celebrations, the Al Rashid Mosque found new ways to celebrate and give back.
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast while also celebrating and gathering with family. One aspect of Ramadan is giving back to the less fortunate, and the Al Rashid Mosque made sure that the tradition was kept alive in the face of COVID-19.
“A lot of times, you tend to take things like going to church for granted until you’re no longer able to go,” said Noor Al-Henedy, Communications Director for the Al Rashid Mosque. “This place is really lively, and Ramadan was the first time people understood that those things we took for granted in previous years are no longer here.”
Giving back is essential to the Al Rashid Mosque, especially when it comes to helping seniors and the homeless. Last year, the mosque temporarily opened up as a homeless shelter.
Al-Henedy describes the mosque as a hub where everyone is welcome, whether Muslim or not. Before Ramadan, which this year began on April 23, the mosque hosts a friendly meal for the neighbourhood to ask for forgiveness for the month-long celebrations to come.
The pandemic interrupted the inviting atmosphere and made it challenging for the Muslim community and the neighbourhood to come together.
“This year for Ramadan, getting together wasn’t a possibility, but we wanted to make sure that we’re still doing what we can for the people most in need,” Al-Henedy said.
The Arabian Muslim Association was able to fund a large portion of the Al Rashid Mosque’s Iftar Project, thanks to a $24,000 grant from Edmonton Community Foundation (ECF).
“Al Rashid Mosque has an impressive record of stepping up to serve the less fortunate, and the pandemic has been no exception,” Craig Stumpf-Allen, ECF’s Director of Grants and Community Engagement said.
The goal of the Iftar project was to put together and deliver meal hampers to those in need. Iftar is known as the breaking of the fast, where everyone gathers at sundown for a meal.
By the end of Ramadan, the Al Rashid Mosque had provided and delivered more than 20,000 meal hampers.
“It was an inspiring initiative, and it was a huge success,” Al-Henedy said. “We’re enriching the homes of 20,000 people in Edmonton, and they get to know that somebody cares about them.”
Everyone deserves to feel welcome, and that’s the example the Al Rashid Mosque is setting.
“In times of difficulties, Canadians tend to rise above the circumstances,” Al-Henedy said. “And in these times, people want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Something promising.”
Learn more about ECF’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund.