CALGARY -- For the second time during the pandemic, a unique initiative started by the Ismaili Muslim community will be collecting thousands of pounds of food for those in need.

Members of Ismali CIVIC are holding their annual Ramadan Food Drive.

 “This year, obviously because of the pandemic we didn’t want that to negatively affect the outcome of our annual food bank drive," said volunteer Fatima Moledina.

"We partnered with a few different Save-On Foods locations to collect over 5,000 pounds of non-perishable food items.”

In addition to non-perishable food, the Ismaili CIVIC group is purchasing healthy, perishable foods from H&W Produce.

“We’re here today to purchase more perishable items, things like fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, things that are really needed for the food bank,” said Moledina

Avaleen Streeton with the Calgary Food Bank says the Ismaili CIVIC food drive is extremely important to their organizations success.

“This is huge,” she said.

“We rely entirely on community support and we always want to ensure our clients get the best most nutritious food.”

Demand at the Calgary Food Bank is up since the start of the pandemic, anywhere from 20 to 40 per cent, week-over-week and month-over-month.

“We’re really lucky because we do have organizations like this that are still continue into to do food drives and bring attention to what were doing,” said Streeton.

“Honestly, were truly honoured and blessed to be able to serve during such a difficult time,” said Moledina.

"Even though don’t have as many people as we normally would on-site because of the pandemic, there’s tons of volunteered behind the scenes to make it happen."