The Islamic Centre of Yellowknife is donating 400 care bags to organizations across the NWT to help those in need this holiday season.
Dubbed “winter warmth bags,” they contain items such as toques, mittens, thermal socks and blankets, alongside a variety of hygiene products. Of the 400 kits assembled, 100 were donated to the YWCA in Yellowknife on Monday.
“For the Islamic community and as a Muslim, it’s very important,” said Nazim Awan, chair of the Islamic Centre of Yellowknife.
“It is not a favour to the people we are helping. It’s our duty that if we see a need then we have to step up.”
“These kits can really benefit those families and those individuals who are in need of warmth this Christmas,” said Hawa Dumbuya-Sesay, executive director of YWCA NWT.
“For example, with the sanitary pads [in the kits], not everyone can afford that. So it means a lot to low-income families when they get things like this.
“This makes a difference between deciding whether to buy food or to buy sanitary pads.”
Dumbuya-Sesay says there are more than 100 families using the YWCA’s housing programs, in addition to other programs the organization runs.
The bags were bought by the larger charity Islamic Relief Canada then assembled and distributed by the Islamic Centre of Yellowknife.
The Islamic Centre ran the same program last year. Awan says that allowed northerners to provide feedback and, as a result, this year’s items more closely reflect the needs of those in the NWT – like the need to address the cold temperatures.
The Native Women’s Association will receive 150 kits, 25 bags were given to the community of Ulukhaktok, and the Islamic Centre will keep some to hand out to other families.
“Muslim or non-Muslim, it is important for everybody to be part of the solution,” Awan said.
“Wherever we can make a bit of difference in somebody’s life – that’s important.”