Photo of Alberta Northern Lights recipient Ismaili community

Location: Edmonton, Alberta

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ismaili community in Edmonton has developed a number of initiatives to help those in need.

As places of worship had to be closed, Latif Haji realized that Ismaili CIVIC, a national volunteer project committed to improving the lives of all Canadians, would have to adjust their annual Ramadan Food Drive. Accordingly, they partnered with Save-On-Foods and placed bins at grocery stores to collect donations during the month of Ramadan. Overall, Latif and his team of volunteers collected 3,000 pounds of food and $1,200 for the Edmonton Food Bank. Additionally, he engaged over 30 seniors in the Ismaili community to sew 1,300 masks for essential workers.

The Ismaili community in Edmonton also established a meal and grocery delivery service for vulnerable and senior members of the community. Groceries and frozen and hot meals have been delivered to over 60 vulnerable individuals. Sumaira Allibhoy leads the team of volunteers, coordinating pickups from donors and drop-offs to recipients, all while ensuring everyone’s safety at each step. Ismaili volunteer Shafiq Hemraj has carried out over 160 of these deliveries, routinely bringing meals to seven different families. Overall, the venture has delivered over 700 meals to date.

Salma Murji rounded up a team of Ismaili community volunteers to organize a toiletries and women’s hygiene product drive across Edmonton. Over a few weeks, they raised 22 large boxes of supplies and $1,200 for the United Way.

With schools closed, Ismaili volunteer Anish Maredia, a computer technician, realized that many families do not have access to the technology needed to adapt to the new online learning environment. He put out a call for gently used laptops, tablets or iPads, which could be donated to help children go online to access educational programming. Anish collected, refurbished and reformatted over 30 devices which were then donated to families in need.

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