The kind-hearted Muslim community in Conwy has answered a plea from a police boss to support foodbanks during the coronavirus crisis.
The Conwy Islamic Society donated two pallets of food to foodbanks in Abergele, Penmaenmawr, Llanfairfechan, Conwy, Colwyn Bay and Kinmel Bay.
They were responding to an appeal by North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones who was concerned that foodbanks were running short of supplies to meet the increased demand caused by the pandemic lockdown.
The donation was organised by Ghulam Yasin, the owner of the Texaco garage in Llanrwst, with the help of Cllr Abdul Khan, the vice chair of Conwy County Borough Council, working with his fellow Plaid Cymru councillor, Aaron Wynne.
Mr Jones met the two councillors at the distribution centre in Llanrwst to thank them and help load the foodstuffs for delivery.
Cllr Khan said: “This year, after PCC Arfon Jones asked people to give more support to foodbanks at this difficult time.
“The Conwy Islamic Society regularly donates food to the community particularly at the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan but this year we decided to make a much larger donation than we normally would.
“We have two full pallets of food that will be distributed between different foodbanks. However, due to the logistics of delivering the goods we have asked representatives of the foodbanks to come to one meeting point in Llanrwst to collect the food.
“Arfon Jones and my fellow Conwy Plaid Cymru councillor, Aaron Wynne, have agreed to support and help load the food into vehicles.”
Councillor Khan, who is also the proprietor of Colwyn Bay’s Clock House Restaurant, says Ramadan is a very important festival to the Muslim community.
He added: “During Ramadan a Muslim must have nothing by mouth, no drink, food, even a cigarette if they smoke, between sunrise and sunset.
“It’s so we appreciate and understand what hungry people who have no food or access to water feel like.
“And Islam teaches us it doesn’t matter what religion or faith we follow we are all human beings and need support. That’s why the Conwy Islamic Society is making this donation, it’s for the whole community.
“The food is mainly dried goods such as pasta and tinned goods such as baked beans. At this time of uncertainty with the Coronavirus having such a profound effect on society it’s vital we, in the Muslim community, do what we can to help the whole community.”
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones was delighted the Conwy Islamic Society had heeded his call.
He said: “I can only thank the Muslim community for such an amazing initiative and for showing such wonderful support to foodbanks across Conwy.
“The Muslim community is often misunderstood but acts of community spirited kindness such as this shows we have far more in common than that which divides us.
“I was delighted to go along to the distribution point in Llanrwst and help load food stuffs for foodbanks.
“The Covid-19 health crisis we are experiencing means many foodbanks are simply getting far less food donated than they were before the pandemic took hold.
“Of course. while they are seeing donations diminish demand is growing as people are struggling to buy the basic foodstuffs they need on a daily basis .
“ I’d ask everyone to donate what they can when they can. Every donation no matter how big or small will make a difference.”
Cllr Aaron Wynne, from Llanrwst, said: “Cllr Khan and the Iman of the Canolfan Iman Centre Mosque at Llandudno Junction asked if I could help in the distribution of the donated food and I was delighted to do so.
“We thought it easier to ask the food banks to travel to Llanrwst to collect the food rather than drive around delivering to them.
“ I have been busy contacting the respective foodbanks and I went to the distribution point and joined the PCC and Cllr Khan to load the food stuffs into vehicles.
“We read all the time and hear on the news about this alleged divide between the Muslim community and the rest of society but it’s just wrong.
“In Conwy we have many doctors, nurses, shop workers, catering trade staff and many other professions that are Muslims all playing an important role in their local communities.”