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Community volunteer collective helps vulnerable Edmontonians downtown


Various community and faith groups put differences aside and gathered Sunday to help hand out warm food and wellness kits to vulnerable Edmontonians.

Volunteers from the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC), McDougall United Church, Bent Arrow and Human Concern International prepared 200 bowls of chilli and kits with hygiene items to be distributed in the downtown core.

For the past year, McDougall Church has established a relationship with MAC to share their space for prayers and community projects, explained Larry Derkach, church council chair.

"It's been our vision to build this into a community hub that can be of much greater service to the community than we have been able to do as a small congregation," Derkach added.

A volunteer prepares chilli in the McDougall United Church's kitchen (CTV News Edmonton/Jessica Robb).

Majda Jimali, a MAC volunteer, says the two different faiths find more common ground than people think, especially when it comes to service.

"It seems inevitable that we would come together and work on these things together," Jimali said.

"We pool our talents together," she added. "We pool our budgets together… Everyone pooling in, pitching in makes the project bigger, and we can serve more people."

Majda Jimali speaks with CTV News Edmonton (CTV News Edmonton/Jessica Robb).

For Laila Elkadri with Human Concern International, having diverse people makes it easier to help vulnerable Edmontonians who also come from different backgrounds.

"Bringing in that diversity and inclusivity and mixing it together and showing each other that we're all really the same opens up our understanding of others' backgrounds," Elkadri told CTV News Edmonton.

Volunteers prepare chilli in the McDougall United Church's kitchen (CTV News Edmonton/Jessica Robb).

Imane Ait Daoud works in the mental health field. She volunteered to help Sunday to bring her practice into action.

"Coming out here, doing something hands-on gives me a different opportunity to help," she said. "These opportunities are a good way to get people who don't usually interact to interact. It's a great way to connect.

"When we do that, when we create those opportunities and spaces, then we create a huge opportunity for the future Edmonton," Ait Daoud added. "For these spaces to become more alive and people can become more comfortable reaching across [to help]." Top Stories

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