Spirit of Ramadan food drive helps families in need

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Spirit of Ramadan food drive helps families in need

Asile El-Darahali says when you're fasting for Ramadan, you feel a sense of empathy for families who don't have enough to eat.

On Sunday, El-Darahali organized the third annual Spirit of Ramadan fundraiser, which raised over $13,000 for local charities.

"Part of the fasting is to feel the hunger of others. This month really puts it all together for us in focus. You truly feel how there's people less fortunate, so you want to help," El-Darahali said.

The fundraiser was held Sunday at Mic Mac Mall in Dartmouth, N.S.

During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to sunset — giving up both food and water — and abstain from other vices throughout the holy month.

"It's part of giving back, feeling empathy for others and helping out the community," she said.

The food and money raised will be donated to organizations such as Feed Nova Scotia, Bryony House, Metro Turning Point, Adsum House, Bayers Westwood Family Resource Centre and Shelter Nova Scotia.

"Aside from the donations that are so important for all of the charities ... I think the sense of community is really what's inspiring and kind of uplifting for people providing services for those in need," said Colleen Ritchie, a spokesperson for Shelter Nova Scotia.

Ritchie said extra events like the Spirit of Ramadan means they get extra groceries, giving recipients more of a choice.

"Having groceries brought into a facility is a real gift for us ... It's a product people can create their own food and meals with," she said.

El-Darahali said last year's food shortage with Feed Nova Scotia gave the group "an extra push" to collect as much as possible.

"[There are] lots of families out there ... that do go to sleep without food every night," she said.

"It may be a drop in the bucket, but it's something that's going to hopefully help out the community."

People looking to donate after Sunday's event can do so on the group's GoFundMe page until June 25.