EDMONTON -- A pharmacist in Terwillegar is offering to help people who can’t afford to pay for their medication during the pandemic.

“There are lots of people who are under stress, have mental challenges; there are people who are diabetic who have hypertension who didn’t take their medication because of the money,” said pharmacist Mohamed Elfishawi.

For some time now, Elfishawi said he has been helping customers who cannot afford medication. He got the idea when he was calling a neighbour about picking up an order he was filling,

“She told me, ‘I don’t have enough money to pick it up so just leave it for now.’ Right away I told her, ‘Don’t worry about the money, just take your pills and whenever you have money you can pay for it or forget about it. It’s not a big deal.’”

Wanting to help others like his neighbour, he posted a message on the Terwillegar Community League Facebook page letting others know they can come to the Terwillegar Pharmacy if they need help.

He hopes other pharmacists are able to follow his lead.

“I hope everybody will do this, help people, help the community, it’s tough times and everybody needs help.”

He said there are other aides, including government programs, which can help people get the medications they need.

“Come, reach out to me and I will show you the programs… if we cannot get you on a program we will help you as much as we can.”

One of Elfishawi’s customer’s said he wasn’t surprised to find out about the acts of kindness.

“He’s a good man,” said Charles Moio. “I have insurance (but)… I think in these hard times of COVID, people are losing their jobs… that would be the most noble thing a pharmacist can do.”

CTV News Edmonton asked Elfishawi if he was worried people might start taking advantage of his kindness now that he has gone public.

“It’s a challenge… It happens, but I don’t care as long as I help as many people as I can.”

Elfishawi is a third-generation pharmacist originally from Cairo who came to Edmonton 12 years ago. He believes it is only right to give back to the community after the support he and his business received over the years.

“There are a lot of people who actually offered to donate money and help me with that.”

Elfishawi said he declined the offers for now, but will ask for help to continue his efforts if he needs it in the future.

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s David Ewasuk