About 200 young Muslim volunteers throughout the Lower Mainland, including Surrey, want to get a simple message out to people who cannot leave their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic – you’re not alone.
Through a campaign called Neighbourhood Helper, Muslim youth are offering their services to people who need help with picking up groceries, filling prescriptions – or even just need someone to talk to.
The nationwide campaign, first launched in Toronto on March 23 by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association, is looking to pick up steam in the Lower Mainland.
“It’s part of our faith to serve our community, especially in this time of need,” said Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Asociation outreach co-ordinator Salman Khan, who emphasized you don’t need to be Muslim to volunteer – or ask for help.
Khan, says recently spending 14 days in isolation with flu-like symptoms gave him empathy for his neighbours who may be facing major challenges on their own.
He said he wants people in Surrey to know that even if they can’t afford groceries, help is there.
“Even if somebody needs food and they cannot even afford to pay for it, we will get in touch with food banks to try and get those essentials for them if need be.”
Ahmadiyya muslim youth association #neighbourhoodhelper campaign. If you or your loved one needs assistance with grocery or prescription refills our volunteers are willing and happy to help out. #COVIDCanada @CBCNews— Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Vancouver (@Amjvancouver) April 6, 2020
Please contact us. You are not alone we are here to help pic.twitter.com/A99MZtQ6wT
And, Khan said, sometimes a listening ear can work wonders on its own.
“If you’re in isolation and you’re all alone and you just want to talk to somebody, give us a call,” he said. “We’ll be there to talk to you.”
Leaflets are also being distributed in Lower Mainland communities with details on how to get in touch with local teams for assistance.
“We want to let our neighbours know that if they are in isolation, or if they are hurting, that we are here to help.
“That’s just the Canadian thing to do – to look out for each other in a time of need.”
To receive assistance or would like to vounteer, call 1-855-HELP811 or sign up on helpingneighbours.com.