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‘Meet, eat, donate’: local mosque barbecues to raise funds for OEV community

Ali Chahbar, the outreach coordinator with the mosque, tells 980 CFPL it is London's responsibility to provide all types of support to the victims during this difficult time.
Ali Chahbar, the outreach coordinator with the mosque, tells 980 CFPL it is London's responsibility to provide all types of support to the victims during this difficult time. Google Maps

The London Muslim Mosque turned on the grills and invited Londoners to join the barbecue on Sunday.

Proceeds collected will go towards helping out those affected by the Old East Village explosion that shook Woodman Avenue and surrounding areas on the night of August 14.

Ali Chahbar, the outreach coordinator with the mosque, tells 980 CFPL it is London’s responsibility to provide all types of support to the victims during this difficult time.

“[The families] are fellow Londoners, they’re fellow citizens… it’s incumbent on us to reach out to them and see how we can alleviate any troubles,” says Chahbar.
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“This is financial support, but they need emotional support, they need support on every level.”

READ MORE: Produce delivery service to donate 5,000 pounds of food to those impacted by London explosion

Councillors Jesse Helmer of Ward 4 and Phil Squire of Ward 6 attended the BBQ, and told 980 CFPL the mosque’s generosity comes without surprise.

“The community here at the London Muslim Mosque is outstanding, I’m not surprised to see them come together to try and support their neighbors in Old East Village,” says Helmer. “It’s really heartening to see the community coming together here at the mosque to try and support the folks who have been affected.”

“Today’s really just an example of the many things the [mosque does] to make the community better,” says Squire. “I’m not surprised, but I couldn’t be happier.”

Good friends Mark Johnson and Christopher Handren headed over to grab some burgers.

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“It’s a real blessing to have a Muslim community here that’s so outreaching and giving,” Johnson tells 980 CFPL.

“I think [the victims need] more moral support [like this.]” adds Handren.

READ MORE: $50,000 raised for Londoners impacted by Old East Village explosion to be distributed: OEVCA

The mosque began fundraising for the OEV community the Friday following the explosion.

Chahbar says an announcement was made during Friday prayers regarding helping out the victims, and $3,500 was raised all in one day, and in one service.

For Chahbar, helping local heroes get back on their feet is a Londoner’s duty.

“They’re resilient residents and neighbours in that area, because they’ve really showed their resilience. They’re heroes… they really are.”

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WATCH: Video shows aftermath of massive explosion that jolted a London, Ont. neighbourhood and forced the evacuation of 100 homes

Click to play video 'Video shows aftermath of massive explosion that jolted a London, Ont. neighbourhood and forced the evacuation of 100 homes' Video shows aftermath of massive explosion that jolted a London, Ont. neighbourhood and forced the evacuation of 100 homes
Video shows aftermath of massive explosion that jolted a London, Ont. neighbourhood and forced the evacuation of 100 homes