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Chefs, volunteers gather at London mosque to prepare and serve 250 meals daily for Ramadan

Haitham Murad prepares countless pieces of chicken to serve for the meal. There will be a variety of food served each night at the London Muslim Mosque.  (Arfa Rana/ CBC News - image credit)
Haitham Murad prepares countless pieces of chicken to serve for the meal. There will be a variety of food served each night at the London Muslim Mosque. (Arfa Rana/ CBC News - image credit)

Chefs and volunteers at the London Muslim Mosque are preparing to organize hearty meals for more than 250 people each day in its gym.

While the chefs are paid, dozens of volunteers will help with setting tables and washing dishes for the iftar, the evening meal that marks the breaking of the fast.

"The mosque does it because it is a service for our community, especially around this time of year to make everyone feel at home," said Hashem Ramadan, treasurer on the board of directors at the mosque in the southwestern Ontario city.

Students, taxi drivers, single people and anyone in need are encouraged to come for a meal, which will include three different dishes each week such as chicken legs, beef stew and kofta, a meatball dish, with rice, salad and occasionally hummus.

Haitham Murad (left) is joined by other volunteers on the first day of Ramadan at the London Mulim Mosque where food is being prepared for the iftar.
Haitham Murad (left) is joined by other volunteers on the first day of Ramadan at the London Mulim Mosque where food is being prepared for the iftar.

Murad, left, is joined by other volunteers on the first day of Ramadan at the London Mulim Mosque, where food is being prepared for the iftar. (Arfa Rana/ CBC News)

Ramadan is a sacred month of fasting for Muslims. They abstain from food and water from dawn to sunset, work to improve themselves spiritually and participate in giving to those in need. According to the moon cycle, Monday was the first day of the fast in North America.

"It's very important to feel for the people that don't have the time to cook, especially the students," said Ali Chabar, director of outreach at the mosque. "But we are welcoming anyone, either Muslim or non-Muslim to join us."

Chabar said serving iftars is an important part of giving back to the community and the need has been great some years.

"It's a very warming feeling, let's put it that way."