Food banks across Canada, the United States and Australia are taking part in Give 30, a unique grassroots volunteer-run initiative combatting hunger in Ramadan.
Give 30 was founded in 2012 to bring attention to hunger in our communities and encourage people of all backgrounds to support food banks during the month of Ramadan through GIVE30.org, according to a joint release from Give 30 and the Partners in Mission Food Bank. The initiative now supports 19 major food banks and anti-poverty organizations across Canada, the United States and Australia, which together serve hundreds of thousands of people. The campaign locally, organized through the Kingston Islamic Society, supports the Partners in Mission Food Bank annually.
Last year, the challenge of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in an early campaign launch to ease the unexpected and increased needs brought to local food banks locally. Through generous donations from community members, who came together to help neighbours in need during this challenging time, Give 30 Kingston raised a grand total of $16,231 for Partners in Mission Food Bank.
This total far exceeds anything that has been raised in past Give 30 campaigns in Kingston, according to campaign organizers. Through this and other campaigns, Dan Irwin, Director of Partners in Mission Food Bank, was confident the Food Bank would be able meet the needs of the community for 2020. As Give 30 founder, Ziyaad Mia, states in his national message: “The virus has shown us that we are one human family, inextricably connected, interdependent, and in this together.”
This is the eighth year for Give 30 Kingston, and their second campaign during the COVID-19 pandemic. “This past year, more than ever, has emphasized that there are those who are struggling in our neighborhoods," said Mona Rahman, Co-Chair of the Give 30 Team Kingston. "Hunger is not an ‘over there’ problem; it’s a problem everywhere, even in Kingston.”
Ramadan is about giving, building community, and understanding the challenges of hunger that others face, said Imam AbdurRashid Michael Taylor, Co-Chair of the Give 30 Team Kingston. That is why it works so well at motivating people to give.
“Everyone can participate in the spirit of Ramadan,” Taylor emphasized. “Give 30 is not about any one group or faith; it's about uniting in common humanity. Hunger and poverty know no race, religion, ethnicity, creed, gender or age and that's why it's important for everyone to join Give 30.”
This year, members of the Kingston Muslim Youth are organizing an interschool competition, encouraging secondary schools to raise funds for Partners in Mission Food Bank via Give 30, according to the release. Stay updated through their Instagram account (@kingston_muslim_youth). Other groups and business are encouraged to get creative and join the Give 30 campaign to help Partners in Mission Food Bank fight hunger in Kingston.
Story by Jessica Foley, The Kingstonist, for the Local Journalism Initiative