We have provided a $32,026 Emergency Community Support Fund grant to the Guildford Islamic Cultural Center to assist in providing hampers (containing groceries and essential items) to 300 seniors and newly landed immigrants in Surrey who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.
Guildford Islamic Cultural Center is a place of peace and tranquility, enabling its visitors to renew their connection with their Creator. Their activities include five daily prayers, special congregational prayers, and weekly education sessions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had particularly damaging impacts on seniors and newly landed immigrants in Canada, exacerbating feelings of social isolation and threatening livelihood through the loss of jobs. According to Statistics Canada’s recent report on senior support during COVID-19, seniors who are classified as low-income and immigrant seniors were less likely to have social support during the pandemic. Newly landed immigrants (including refugees) have also been shown to be disproportionately affected by COVID-19. As such, Guildford Islamic Cultural Center has designed its hamper project to alleviate food insecurity experienced by these vulnerable populations during the pandemic. These monthly hampers contain groceries (e.g., cereals, grains, canned items, baby formula), and essential items (e.g. toothpaste, toilet paper, and feminine hygiene items).
“This project is instrumental in alleviating food insecurity and providing essential hygiene items for 300 seniors and new immigrants in Surrey, in addition to enhancing mental wellness and providing social support for these vulnerable individuals,” explained Mobin Minto, Guildford Islamic Cultural Center. “We also partnered with the Muslim Food Bank to distribute our hampers and receive guidance. With this funding, we were able to do three rounds of hamper distributions.”
To support the project, the Guildford Islamic Cultural Center hired a Project Coordinator and two Hamper Assemblers/Drivers. The Project Coordinator will be responsible for client intake, obtaining community feedback and the purchase of groceries/items. The Assemblers/Drivers will be responsible for preparing the monthly food/essential item hampers and delivering them to approved clients. The Project Coordinator will also assist with hamper preparation and delivery as required.
“The pandemic has had a large emotional and psychological effect on our community,” stated Derar Alassi, Guildford Islamic Cultural Center. “We previously had the mosque open with social distancing regulations put in place, but since November when restrictions were tightened we had to close down and only allow a very limited number of people in the building. Not being able to visit the mosque, a place to find peace and connection, during the pandemic has greatly affected many community members' mental health.”
This grant is made possible through the Government of Canada's $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund, which saw over $900,000 allocated to SurreyCares in its first round and now, over $575,000 in the second round.
“We are grateful to be able to support the Guildford Islamic Cultural Center in supporting seniors and new immigrants who are unfortunately struggling during this pandemic,” said Christine Buttkus, Executive Director of SurreyCares Community Foundation. “Seeing the Guildford Islamic Cultural Center come together and offer support to vulnerable members of our community during the pandemic is heartwarming.”
Individuals and businesses who wish to support Surrey charities are asked to give to the Surrey Community Relief Fund. In partnership with the Surrey Now-Leader, Surrey Board of Trade and The Saheli Foundation, the goal is to raise $500,000 to support the most vulnerable populations in Surrey.
To learn more about SOS Children’s village BC, visit their website: https://www.sosbc.org/