During Ramadan, Muslims usually end their daily fast with a shared meal and group prayers.
A lot of that has changed this year because of the pandemic, but the spirit of community carries on.
For Mona Siddiqui, the holy month isn’t just a time to fast, it’s a time to share. "A huge, huge part of Ramadan is the charitable aspect," Siddiqui says. "It’s about not only are we not eating, but we’re thinking more about others in our communities, particularly those that are more vulnerable or marginalized or suffering."
Throughout the month, Siddiqui and a group of volunteers deliver hot meals to patients at the Daily Planet clinic in Richmond. There, people experiencing homelessness receive healthcare, shelter and pre-packaged food through a medical respite program.
"What Mona and her friends have done is supplied food to those residents at those places, which has been a welcome diversion from their usual menus," says Dr. Patricia Cook.
Cook is the Chief Medical Officer at the Daily Planet. Since the end of February, her team has been working around the clock and it’s hard to find time to eat. "All of my meals happen at my desk," she notes.
To show their appreciation, Siddiqui and crew have started delivering weekly breakfasts or lunches for Cook and her colleagues. "It was nice to get out of the brown bag that I bring every day and be able to walk over to the kitchen and grab a nice hot meal," Cook says.
She still eats at her desk, but dishes like chicken curry offer a touch of comfort in a tumultuous time.