Windsor Islamic Association creates helpline to ensure seniors are fed
'People are hard-pressed in this situation and we wanted to help,' says Shagufta Khan
The Windsor Islamic Association (WIA) has set up a helpline and a food bank to bring essential items to vulnerable populations in the city.
"Obviously people are hard-pressed in this situation and we wanted to help, not just for the Muslim community but for all the people of Windsor," said Shagufta Khan, director of social affairs with the association.
The WIA has set up a second warehouse of food at the Windsor Mosque, which is separate from its current food bank that serves 190 Muslim families per month.
Around 10 seniors per day are already calling to have food delivered. If the association doesn't have food on hand, members will go to grocery stores to find the items.
"And we have access to some funds, in case we don't have those supplies available," said Khan.
She added that the main thing people are seeking are basic daily items, like eggs and vegetables. They're also seeking hygiene products — items that are in low supply at the association.
Khan said elderly people are also calling the helpline for assistance to pay for medication.
The association is seeking help from the community to donate hygiene products and cleaning supplies.
Keeping safe while serving the elderly
Khan said there are protocols that volunteers are following to prevent the spread of any germs. She said the outside of any packaged goods leaving the mosque are disinfected and there's no physical contact between volunteers and customers.
"[Volunteers] have hand sanitizer. They have masks and they have gloves," she said. "They just knock on the door, open the door and leave [the food] inside or outside and then they leave."
Group will likely continue in the future
According to Khan, the Windsor Islamic Association is filling a need they didn't know existed until now. She said they don't plan to slow down once "everything returns back to normal."
"I have seen a trend, especially in the elderly population. They really even need somebody just to call them, talk to them," said Khan. "Honestly, I'm talking half an hour to people ... I'm just listening to your story and I'm just thinking if people are lonely, they just want to talk to someone and they feel nice about it."
"I would strongly recommend that we should keep on doing this," she said.
There are 30 volunteers helping the association deliver and pick-up food for people who call the helpline.
The Windsor Islamic Association's helpline can be reached by calling 519-966-2355 Ext.7