There’s a new option for Calgarians in need, especially those with religious dietary restrictions.
Calgary’s Islamic community opened the Sayyidah Fatemah Food Bank, named after the daughter of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.
The centre is run out of the Green Dome Mosque at 4616 80 Avenue N.E. and specializes in halal ingredients.
Chef Asif Muhammad helped open the new facility, offering up cultural favourites from his restaurant, Desi Kitchen.
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“Halal means that you cut the neck and the blood has come all out,” Muhammad described. “This is healthy food, that’s why.”
A healthy meal is just what many Calgarians desperately need. The economic downturn doesn’t discriminate and many new immigrants are feeling the pinch.
“Immigrants are coming to Calgary every day and sometimes they struggle quite a bit in finding jobs. And because of the economic situations there are a lot of Muslim families that are suffering,” Imam Syed Soharwardy said. “We do have some dietary restrictions so halal meat – halal food – helps those people who cannot eat the other items.”
While the facility is run by volunteers from the Muslim community, organizers said it’s open to all Calgarians in need.
“We’ve seen a need of food banks right across Alberta skyrocket over the last twelve months. [It’s] very concerning, of course, because with that comes other problems of suicides and other mental health needs,” Brian Jean, Leader of the Wildrose said at the food bank’s opening Friday.
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For now the Sayyidah Fatemah Food Bank will run from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
For information, including how to donate or volunteer, call Imam Soharwardy at 403-831-6330 or 416-994-5467.