Nfld. & Labrador

Fasting while helping others eat: Ramadan fundraiser in Gander

Hassan Malik has lived in Gander only since November, but he's already helping make a difference in the community.

Local Muslim man reaches out to Gander and area food bank

Capt. Hassan Malik is raising money for the Gander and Area Food Bank during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. (Leigh Anne Power/CBC)

Hassan Malik has lived in Gander only since November, but he's already making a difference in the community.

Malik, the chief engineer at the local Canadian Forces base, is an Ahmadiyya Muslim. Part of his faith is the belief in serving others.

"We're always taught to put our faith and our country first," he explained. "It's something we were exposed to at a young age because our parents were doing it as well. I really wanted to continue that in Gander."

Malik decided to focus on the Gander and Area Food Bank, so he's spending the holy month of Ramadan raising money for the charity.

"What I found interesting, I was reading an article from last year about food banks. They apparently had empty shelves at this time last year. We wanted to make sure that didn't happen again," he said.

Fasting builds empathy

He says fasting during Ramadan gives him a better understanding of what it's like for people who have no choice about being hungry.

"When you're fasting, you know your meal is coming around again at nine o'clock," he said.

"And I know there are people out there who don't know when their next meal is coming or how they're going to pay for it. So it really gives you a sense of what other people are going through. It just made sense to donate to the food bank."

Malik's goal is to raise $1,000, and he's already collected $850 of that, mostly through donations from friends and family.