A Muslim leader and a former Winnipeg Blue Bomber are hoping to use Ramadan to give Winnipeg Harvest a much needed boost this summer.

Nadia Kidwai, with the Canadian Muslim Leadership Institute, along with former Bomber-turned-restaurateur Obby Khan, are organizing a campaign called Give 30.

The campaign officially launched on Tuesday at Winnipeg Harvest. It runs until Sept. 5.

"The premise is, during the month of Ramadan when we give up food from sunrise to sunset, we're saving a ton of money on not buying lunch or our morning coffee," said Kidwai.

'I think the best part of Give 30 is that it invites non-Muslims to participate. It's kind of building solidarity.' - Nadia Kidwai

"And so what if we kept that money aside and tallied up the 30 days that we fast, and gave that money to the local food bank?"

But Kidwai wants people to know that you don't have to be Muslim to participate, nor do you have to fast.

In fact, Khan, an observant Muslim, doesn't fast because of his health issues — he was diagnosed with colitis a few years ago.

"If I was to fast, I would start to bleed and it would be really, really bad for me because I don't have a large intestine. So because of that, I'm exempt from fasting," he explained.

"What I'm not exempt from is doing charity. So I basically have to give a charitable donation of the amount of money it would cost me to break my fast."

Give 30

Marcy Markusa, left, host of CBC's Information Radio, chatted about the Give 30 campaign on Monday with Nadia Kidwai and Obby Khan. (Ruth Shead/CBC)

Khan and Kidwai suggest Winnipeggers can participate by giving up buying coffee or lunch out and donating the money they save.

"We're not saying don't eat anything, just make a little bit of a change in your daily habits," said Khan.

"I think the best part of Give 30 is that it invites non-Muslims to participate," said Kidwai. "It's kind of building solidarity."

The money raised will go to Winnipeg Harvest. In preparation for the campaign, Kidwai visited the food bank last week.

"It was the first time I've been and I was shocked at how empty the shelves were," she said. "I guess it's just not on peoples right mind now to give, so Ramadan is coming at the perfect time."