The prep time might have been a little short, but the generosity was not.
For the second year in a row, the Ahmadiyya Elders Association, an auxiliary organization of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, held its annual gathering in Salmon Arm. Also meeting in the city this year was a partner youth group of the Muslim organization.
In a bit of a last-minute decision, the organization decided to pay back the community by holding a three-kilometre “Run for Salmon Arm,” with just three weeks of lead time. Net proceeds of the run were to go the Shuswap Lake Hospital Foundation.
Organizers scrambled, and more than 500 runners and walkers contributed, people who had come from all over Western Canada – Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Calgary, Abbotsford, Vancouver, Delta, Surrey, Fort McMurray and many more, said spokesperson Rizwan Peerzada.
On Sunday, just before the race, organization dignitaries presented an appreciative Salmon Arm Mayor Nancy Cooper with a cheque for $25,000 for the foundation.
“I’m very excited that you’re all here and helping us here in Salmon Arm with our hospital foundation. I’m a bit overwhelmed that it was $25,000,” she said of the cheque. “Thank you so much, this will make a lot of difference for our community. We have been working towards a special unit for babies that are born early, and I’m sure this money will go towards a great cause.”
Kabir Chugtai, national director of social services for the organization, explained that it is the leading Muslim organization to reject terrorism in any form, promoting love for all, hatred for none. He said it likes to build bridges and create harmony by getting involved with local charities.
“It is the sheer blessing of Allah that our community has been able to raise such a large amount in such a short time,” he said.
Asked if the organization will return to Salmon Arm, Chugtai said “definitely, absolutely.”
“We love this place. There’s so much respect, so much love, so much openness.”