Windsor·Sounds of the Season

Neighbourhood Helper program provides helping hand to Windsorites during pandemic

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association's Neighbourhood Helper campaign provides assistance to those who need it such as seniors and those in self-isolation or quarantine.

Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association picks up groceries, prescriptions for those who need help

Luqman Ejaz is a youth leader with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association and volunteer co-ordinator for its Neighbourhood Helper campaign in Windsor. (CBC)

The COVID-19 pandemic has made tasks such as getting groceries or picking up prescriptions even harder for some people, but a national Muslim youth group has stepped up to help across the country and in Windsor-Essex.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association's Neighbourhood Helper campaign is intended to assist those who need help with errands or even moral support, such as seniors and those in self-isolation or quarantine.

"We wanted to make sure that the youth association was there for them," said Luqman Ejaz, youth leader and volunteer co-ordinator for the program in Windsor-Essex.

The program is taking place across the country. President Zubair Afzal said they have received close to 4,000 requests for assistance across Canada.

Zubair Afzal is the national president of Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association. (CBC)

In addition to doing deliveries for things like groceries or medication, the group also contacted businesses and collected food for those who needed it.

"Close to 700,000 pounds of food was collected and donated to various charities across Canada," Afzal said. "We sent a letter to, in fact, all the charities across Canada. We said, 'if you're food banks or charities, you know, if you need any help, let us know."

In Windsor-Essex about 60 volunteers are signed up to help. The service is there for "anybody who needs anything," Ejaz said. "There's no criteria they have to fit."

During the first wave, a lot of the calls were from people trying to access items such as masks and sanitizer, he said.

Those who have received assistance through the program have been "way too nice," said Ejaz.

He recalled one senior who called him an "angel" after he made a delivery.

"I'm just dropping off some sanitizer ... It's literally no big deal... but just being there at the right time for somebody can impact a lot," he said. 

Sounds of the Season is our annual fundraiser in support of the Windsor-Essex Food Bank Association. It's also a chance to take a closer look at the reasons people in our region are in need, and the steps being taken to help them. 

Sounds of the Seasons is going to look a little bit different this year because of COVID-19. While we can't gather in person, we can still come together to fight hunger in our community. 

  • During the week of December 7, Windsor Morning's Tony Doucette and Windsor News at 6 will speak with Windsorites who are assisting — and facing difficulty — during this time. CBC Windsor will also highlight lived experiences and stories of giving and community. 

You can also follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for more information and updates.

Donate to the Windsor-Essex Food Bank Association now!

To find out how to donate food in your area, click here.

Learn more about hunger in our community or access Feed Ontario's 2020 Hunger report here.


With files from Stacey Janzer