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Sarah Musa takes photos at the Sadaqa Food Festival Sarah Musa takes photos at the Sadaqa Food Festival Photo Credit: Haneen AlHassoun

Reflections on poverty: My summer working with Sadaqa Food Bank

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This summer I was blessed to get an eight-week summer job placement with Sadaqa Food Bank as the media/events coordinator, and it reminded me of how important it was to help other people. With a half-finished undergraduate degree in human rights, I have realized that theorizing about poverty will not solve anything.

From a young age I always knew I loved to help people, and so working at SFB gave me the opportunity to understand just how fundamentally important food banks are. When working in any sort of NGO, you will come across people who  try so much to focus on relief and aid for communities overseas, while dismissing the fact that there are people in need here in Canada. You will hear statements like, “why would someone take welfare when they can get a job?''

In today's context, a minimum wage job just isn't enough. If one doesn't make a certain amount of money above the poverty line, then it is a struggle to even afford the basic necessities. There have been countless numbers of reports and studies that address the relationship between poor health and low income.  Many of Sadaqa Food Bank's clients are elderly or have disabilities or are single parents who have many mouths to feed and are struggling just to provide the basics.

While there is some negativity surrounding the discourse on poverty within the Muslim community, I have seen firsthand just how generous our community can be. On those Saturday mornings as I made my way through Coburg Street, and walked through the crowd of clients at SFB waiting to get their numbers, I marvelled at the enthusiastic volunteers who were waiting to serve others graciously.

While preparations for our food festival back in early July, and fundraising for the Ramadan Zakat campaigns drained a lot of my energy, it was in the moments of exhaustion that I truly understood how blessed I was. Out of 21 applicants, God chose me for this position. I knew I had some big shoes to fill, but the challenge of helping the community, for the sake of Allah, was one I was happily willing to take. {sidebar id=23}

On my last day of the job, many volunteers asked me how I felt, to which I replied “sad.'' Even though August 17th was my last day of employment, I know that insha Allah (God Willing) I'll still be involved with the food bank in upcoming projects.

If any of you have ever wondered what it was like to volunteer at a food bank, or are looking for somewhere to assist on the weekends, I highly recommend that you come down to the Sadaqa Food Bank. 

Sarah Musa is a studies Human Rights at Carleton University.

To learn more about Sadaqa Food Bank visit

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Read 2905 times Last modified on Saturday, 21 January 2017 01:35
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