Taking Action in the Community

Action for Healthy Communities delivers more than 100 food hampers to community members in need thanks to a $17,000 grant from ECF’s Rapid Response Fund.

The emptiness of Ebla Ibrahim’s kitchen pantry worried her when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.  With her husband not working and six children to feed, she felt unable to provide.

The pandemic has forced many families in the community to scramble for food. Increased unemployment and wage cuts put a strain on large families who cannot afford groceries.

“My husband was not working at the time when the virus hit. We all stayed home, so it’s been a little complicated to buy groceries,” Ibrahim said.

The organization Action for Healthy Communities (AHC) is doing all that it can to provide the community with heavily demanded resources. AHC is a community-based group that serves newcomers, ethnocultural groups and organizations, and individuals from a  wide variety of   socioeconomic backgrounds.

The biggest challenge the community is facing due to the pandemic is unemployment. Many people in the community are supporting large families and the loss of a job makes it very difficult to provide for them.

“We help mostly newcomers who have different types of problems and often don’t speak English. Our team is supporting them and helping those in need,” said Mustafa Zahid, Intake and Operations Coordinator for AHC.

A $17,000 grant from Edmonton Community Foundation allowed AHC to deliver food and supplies to the community.

AHC created an emergency response plan to reach out to those who are most vulnerable due to COVID -19. A team of volunteers are delivering food, milk formulas for infants, prescription drugs, and more to those in need.

More than 100 families received food and AHC hopes to meet its goal of 150 families in the coming weeks. AHC also provided 60 students and families with computers to aid in working from home and virtual schooling.

“Action for Healthy Communities has their feet in community and numerous partnerships,” says Craig Stumpf-Allen, ECF’s Director of Grants and Community Engagement. “When they identified the need and how they could address it, we had confidence in their ability to make a difference in our community.”

ECF seeded the Rapid Response Fund (RRF) on March 25 with $500,000 of its discretionary dollars. To date, ECF has provided a combined total of $1.54 million to support Edmonton’s charitable sector through the pandemic.

“We are doing the best we can to help people at the moment,” Zahid said. “People really need our help and we divided our funds in different ways to do that.”

For Ibrahim and others like her, AHC’s food hamper program means that she doesn’t have to worry about how long her family can go without groceries.

“I felt very comforted when I received the food,” she said. “I wasn’t worrying about having to buy milk or oil for my kids, so it was nice receiving those kinds of foods. It helped a lot.”

Learn more about ECF’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic here.