Syrian newcomers hosted a free lunch on Sunday for homeless and low-income Torontonians as a way of giving back during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
"We want to show other people how Muslims are in Ramadan, we need to show others we have ... to give our help to other people," said Mohamad Alhaj, who arrived in Toronto 18 months ago.
The event was spearheaded by Mes Amis Canada, an organization that has helped settle 3,000 refugees in the country over the last 18 months.
Over a hundred volunteers, many of whom were refugees or newcomers, helped out at the event.
"We wanted to go out to the community and have people understand ... about the generosity that is extended during Ramadan, share with Torontonians what the newcomers and refugees are doing now, that they're giving back like all other Canadians," said Julie Mahfouz Rezvani, executive director at Mes Amis Canada.
The lunch was held during the day, at a time many of the newcomers volunteering, mostly of Syrian and Iraqi descent, were fasting.
"While they'll be serving the homeless and low-income individuals, they themselves won't be eating," said Mahfouz Rezvani. "It's more meaningful ... serving others while you're not eating is a pretty big testament."
Hundreds of meals were distributed at the lunch. Then the volunteers took to the streets to hand out meals to people living in the streets.
"The event is called Ahlan Ramadan. Ahlan means welcome ... those refugees that were welcomed in Canada last year are participating in this event to now give back to Torontonians," said Mahfouz Rezvani.