Muslim youth group mobilizes to help Calgarians struggling with second wave of COVID-19
Young Ahmadiyya Muslims are busy making deliveries across the city
Young Ahmadiyya Muslims in Calgary are busier than ever, helping people deal with the second wave of COVID as part of a national campaign running throughout the pandemic.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association launched the Neighbourhood Helper campaign in response to growing numbers of COVID cases and is increasing efforts heading into the holiday season.
They are offering their services across the city, and in other parts of Canada, picking up groceries, filling prescriptions and offering moral support to people who are struggling and in isolation.
Founded in 1889, the Ahmadiyya Muslim community spans more than 200 countries with tens of millions of followers.
"The campaign started in April to help people and families who are self-isolating or dealing with COVID," said Qamar Ahmad.
Ahmad says they've received and responded to hundreds of calls nationally.
"Now with the second wave, we're starting to see a real influx and we're seeing an increase in individuals who need help," said Ahmad.
Ahmad says a lot of the volunteers are teenagers and young professionals.
Calls come through a national dispatch centre. Local youth chapters in different cities are then tasked with helping the caller.
"It's been a mixed bag of requests but the most common is groceries. A lot of people live on their own, they're away from family, and if they're self-isolating, they often can't rely on anyone but themselves."
The group also picks up items from the Calgary Food Bank.
"The main part of our Muslim faith is to serve our communities and this gives us an opportunity to practise our faith. We're used to programs in mosques, but because of COVID, our volunteers themselves are limited with social interactions, so it gives them an outlet."
Ahmad says the response from people asking for help has been "astonishing."
"They're very thankful. Some families have reached out to several organizations, but because they're busy, sometimes they don't get a response, but our organization was able to," he said.
Ahmad says anyone who needs help can call 1-855-HELP811 or visit the Helping Neighbours website.