Give 30: Fasting for funds

We are once again joining the Canada-wide Give 30 campaign — a grassroots initiative inviting all people of all faiths to combat hunger across Canada during Ramadan.

For those who are unfamiliar with the religious tradition, Ramadan is a time of year when people voluntarily go without food and drink in daylight hours to build empathy with those in need, and hopefully ease some of their burdens.

ziyaad_0Ziyaad Mia, founder of Give 30, says the principles of Ramadan were the original motivation behind Give 30.

“It’s about giving, building community and understanding the challenges behind hunger,” he said, adding that everyone can participate in Ramadan whether fasting or not — it’s about the shared values of fighting hunger.

He says the idea to start the campaign came to him over a decade ago when he was joking with a colleague about how much money he saved during Ramadan. The joke, he says, sparked an “Ah-ha” moment; he realized that all the money saved by not drinking coffee and tea everyday should go to help local food banks.

While Ramadan, he says, is about spirituality, the whole point of fasting is to understand the importance of food.

“Ramadan is just a little taste of hunger,” Mia says. “You are not walking a mile in those shoes; you are only walking two steps.”

Give 30 is coming up to its fourth year. It has become a national wide campaign with 11 partner food banks in six provinces and over the last three years, initiative raised nearly $250,000 to fight hunger.

Though at first Mia says that he measured Give 30’s success by the dollars raised amount, now he measures it by the human connections created. He says he never imagined this campaign would connect people from completely different walks of life, whether they are business men, children or men in a penitentiary.

“What connects all of these people is they are all supporters of Give 30,” Mia says. “If it wasn’t for the people that give, spread the word and participate, it literally wouldn’t have been anywhere today.”

Learn more about Give 30

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