5 Ramadan Surprises: Canadian Give 30 is an easy, powerful lesson for all

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series 5 Ramadan Surprises
Canadan charity effort for Ramadan GIVE 30 logoFrom Dr. Baker: This week, welcome Read the Spirit Editor David Crumm, reporting on 5 things that may surprise you about Ramadan.
Here is David’s second column …

COFFEE CHANGE.
And Ramadan.

That’s the simple idea behind a Canadian Ramadan campaign that is raising money for hungry people in the Toronto area. Muslims aren’t eating during the day. So, please, toss your daily coffee money into a jar for GIVE 30, which is donated to Toronto’s main food bank.

In one month of fasting? Your coffee change should total at least $30, says founder Ziyaad Mia. “Last I checked, you couldn’t even get a Tim Horton’s coffee for $1.”

Here’s what I love about GIVE 30:

  • It’s Canadian—reminding us that, no, Americans don’t have all the pioneering ideas for grassroots campaigns.
  • It’s Muslim good news—and that’s a great antidote to all the news stories we see about conflict in predominantly Muslim countries.
  • It’s a clever way to kick start your conscience—because your mind starts rolling on all the money we so easily blow in the course of a typical day. If Mia thinks $1 is cheap for coffee—just consider some of those fancy drinks millions of us order from gourmet cafes. Just start thinking about the principles behind Give 30—and your conscience soon is pushing you to give much more.

It’s a surprising perspective on Ramadan, since most news media are reporting on the difficulty of the fast itself—as we do this week in Stephanie Fenton’s Ramadan column. And, when we’ve covered the fast—we report on the family feasting that happens most nights of Ramadan, as we do this week in Bobbie Lewis’s Feed the Spirit column (with a delicious Afghani-American recipe). Instead, Ziyaad Mia is pushing us to report on the widespread charity that flows from Muslim individuals, families and communities at this time of year.

“Ramadan is a time for giving. It’s a time of heightened charity. It’s a spiritual boot camp each year, but it’s also a charitable boot camp,” Mia explains.

GIVE 30 properly focuses all of us on the truly needy in our midst: homeless people, impoverished people and the countless working poor who have trouble feeding their families. In the Toronto area, an elaborate food bank meets widespread needs everyday. Where should our hearts focus during Ramadan? Like a wise Muslim sage of old, Mia is teaching all of us a deep lesson about Ramadan.

As Mia puts it: “Ramadan is all about hunger and feeling our empathy with people who do not have as much. That’s the point. So, why don’t we actually go out and help people who need help in finding food for their families.”

Researching GIVE 30, I ran across the following YouTube video of an interview with Mia that you may care to watch; or, if you don’t have time for that—at least tell a friend about this Our Values series. Wish your Muslim neighbors a “Blessed Ramadan” (“Ramadan Mubarak!”) or tell non-Muslim friends to read along with you, this week, to help break down stereotypes. Click a blue-”f” Facebook icon and “Like” this column or use the little envelope icon to email this to friends.

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