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Pakistani association in Calgary offers aid to stranded Calgarians

Click to play video: 'Volunteers boost spirits, batteries of stranded Calgarians'
Volunteers boost spirits, batteries of stranded Calgarians
Amid an extreme cold warning, wait times for a battery boost from AMA are extending to days. As Joelle Tomlinson reports, one local group is doing what it can to help drivers in need – Jan 15, 2024

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect more accurate call loads experienced by the AMA. We regret the error.

In a heartwarming display of community spirit, the newly-formed Canadian Pakistani Community Association in Calgary is making an impact just two weeks into their existence.

With frigid temperatures and an extreme cold warning gripping the city, these volunteers have been on the move, offering a helping hand to stranded Calgarians in need.

The association has taken it upon themselves to boost the spirits, as well as the engines, of those facing difficulties in the bone-chilling cold. Their mission is simple: to extend a warm hand to fellow citizens battling the harsh winter conditions.

According to the Alberta Motor Association (AMA), since Friday it has seen 19 times its usual demand for battery boosts. On Monday, wait times were removed from the website due to high volume of calls.

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This prompted a Facebook post from the Canadian Pakistani Community Association, offering aid during the extreme cold warning across the province.

Click to play video: '‘Be patient’: Workers outside in Alberta’s extreme cold'
‘Be patient’: Workers outside in Alberta’s extreme cold

“It’s our culture,” said Waqar Ahmed, a member of the association. “I grew up with village culture. We cannot sleep if our neighbour is hungry, so how can we run our own car if our neighbour is in trouble with a frozen car?”

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Ahmed had personally boosted around 20 vehicles since Friday. He is taking time off from his day job to do so, alongside other volunteers from the association.

“The reactions are fabulous when we help them,” said Dr. Mark Khousa, president of the association. “These people were in deep trouble and in great stress.”

Khousa said the organization hopes to help out the community in many ways, particularly for those who are integrating into Canadian life after immigrating from Pakistan.

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“Some of us who are new, we can get discouraged,” said Ahmed, referring to the cold Canadian winters. “So we said, ‘Let’s encourage them.'”

“I found people who had tears in their eyes, and they say… this is a great job you’re doing.”

With temperatures expected to rise in Calgary throughout the week after the extreme cold warning ended on Monday, the association plans on being there for the community on a more regular basis, beyond boosting batteries and spirits. You can follow their updates on Facebook.

Click to play video: 'Deep freeze shattering records across Canada'
Deep freeze shattering records across Canada

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