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Ansaar Foundation is registered Canadian Charity# 848018891RR0001, operating in Toronto since May 7, 2004.
We are non-denominational charity which aims to serve individuals of all faiths, race, origins, ethnicities, abilities and gender.
Reducing poverty, empowering lives
To provide vulnerable individuals a comprehensive range of services, support and resources to improve their quality of life.
To design and deliver innovative programs that reduce poverty and homelessness through economic empowerment, food security and social inclusion.
To raise awareness about the cultural and religious needs of individuals accessing shelters and food banks
To research, document and disseminate knowledge on poverty impacting diverse communities through collaboration and partnerships
To establish and operate a Shelter that respects individual dignity, culture and religion.
The establishment of Ansaar Foundation idea came to Imam Abdul Hai Patel, when he saw homeless people on the streets of downtown, eating from the garbage cans and freezing in the streets of Toronto. In that season, three of them froze to death. Moved by this, he took along his friend Abdul Huq Ingar to the City officials to find out how the Muslim community could help the city to reduce homelessness.
The initial idea was to establish a shelter with a view of re-integrating homeless people into the mainstream of society by providing professional help and socio-cultural supports. The city welcomed the initiative and promised to find a facility should one becomes available on the West side of Yonge St, where there was a gap in service.
Initially, Abdul Hai Patel and Abdul Huq Ingar started collecting funds and recruiting volunteers to feed the homeless people. Thereafter, an entity, "Ansaar Foundation" was established with the first board members - Abdul Hai Patel, Abdul Huq Ingar and Zubeda Vahed.
Ansaar’s aim focused on building a shelter, reducing food insecurity and reducing poverty for elders.The Foundation actively hosted walks, campaigns and fundraising drives to help reduce poverty.
In 2005, under the leadership of Azhar Qureshi and with the co-chairs, Bill Blair (Chief of Police Toronto); Armand La Barge (Chief of Police York Region); Jane Pitfield (Toronto Councillor) and Adam Giambrone (Toronto Councillor), the first walk for homelessness was undertaken and was extremely successful. Subsequently, Ansaar Foundation partnered with many agencies with similar mandates to collectively work towards poverty reduction.
In 2010, the Foundation partnered with five other agencies to maintain an active food bank in the Flemingdon Park, Toronto. At that time, the food bank was serving 1000 families in the neighbourhood, and currently it serves almost 4800 families.
The Foundation’s goal to establish a shelter continues; however, the sudden exponential rise in poverty has challenged the Foundation to focus on serving the basic needs, by addressing the food insecurity issues of the communities.