Student donation to Downtown Mission gives executive director 'hope for the future'

·2 min read
Students with Vincent Massey Secondary School's Muslim Students Association presented a cheque for $5,500 to the Downtown Mission on Tuesday. The students raised the funds during Ramadan. (Darrin Di Carlo/CBC - image credit)
Students with Vincent Massey Secondary School's Muslim Students Association presented a cheque for $5,500 to the Downtown Mission on Tuesday. The students raised the funds during Ramadan. (Darrin Di Carlo/CBC - image credit)

The executive director of Windsor's Downtown Mission said a large donation by a Muslim student group gives her hope for the future.

Students at Vincent Massey Secondary School raised $5,500 during Ramadan for the Downtown Mission.

"In the month of Ramadan, donating and giving back to those less fortunate is something that is highly regarded and valued in our religion," said Sulayman Syed, a student at Vincent Massey and co-president of the school's Muslim Student Association (MSA). "So coming together to organize this with our school was an opportunity that I simply couldn't miss."

The MSA raised funds in a couple of ways. They asked for cash donations from fellow students, with the three classes that raised the most funds earning a pizza party.

A bake sale was also held, Syed said.

"Our initial goal is actually $2,500 to $3,000, and we nearly doubled that with $5,500 total, he said. "We were really overwhelmed with the generosity from the MSA community and teachers and everybody."

"It was a really great turnout and we're super happy with the result."

Syed said the fundraising will continue in the future, with proceeds going to different charities.

Downtown Mission Executive Director Rukshini Ponniah-Goulin said the donation will be a "huge help" to the organization.

"We at the Downtown Mission have been seeing more and more individuals, men, women, youth and families coming to us for support, whether it be a meal, whether it be shelter for our men and women overnight and just people needing help," Ponniah-Goulin said. "Overall, it's been a difficult couple of years, as everyone has been experiencing, of course."

She said this particular donation goes beyond financial help.

"It gives you that hope for the future, because it's young people coming together and thinking of how they can help other people who are maybe less fortunate than they are in their own community," said Ponniah-Goulin. "It's incredible to see young people come together in this way."

Vincent Massey teacher Abdul Merhi said he was very proud of what the students accomplished.

"I thought it was a wonderful idea, and they had put in all the energy to make sure it happened successfully," he said. "They worked very hard throughout the month of Ramadan, and the campaign was a very big success in the school for the last two weeks, with the help of the administration team, with the hard work of the students."

"They put every inch of effort into this, and I'm just extremely proud of them and all their commitment and hard work as Muslims and as students."

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