By Victoria Kaye
Imran Hasan, Mississauga Ward 11 candidate and resident of Streetsville, knows that at the heart of hard-wiring a community is the connectivity of its people.
On Thanksgiving Sunday, Hasan spent the day connecting with his extended family, the community of Streetsville, by hosting a coat drive. He romanticizes the scene, set before Murphy’s Ice Cream Parlour with violinist Michael McCleery as the soundtrack, describing it all as a movie setting.
“The day couldn’t have been more perfect,” he said. “The weather was sombre, overcast, a little cool, a violinist playing in the background.”
More than 100 coats were received. Incredible, considering the outreach efforts were old-school: community posters at local shops, word-of-mouth, an email notification to his electoral supporters, as well as some social media.
“A University of Toronto, Mississauga student was one of the first people to arrive with a coat; she saw our poster on Facebook,” said Imran, humbled with the community’s act of kindness. “Though Murphy’s was providing free ice cream and hot chocolate as reward, I was amazed by those that literally drove up, handed me a coat, said ‘great job, keep going.’ And when I said, ‘hey, what about your ice cream, hot chocolate,’ they’re, ‘it’s okay, not doing it for gain.’ Impressive.”
“We reached out to the community and the community reached back. This is an illustration of how bringing the local level of government to the people has the community reciprocating, by completing the relationship.”
Forget the obvious, you can tell this was not done with the election in mind. Hasan is aware each coat received isn’t necessarily a vote on Oct. 22.
“In the spirit of giving, I just wanted to do it,” he said.
Hasan loses track of counting coats as he keeps throwing bags into the back of his SUV. He stops as a man approaches him for change for something to eat. Hasan gives not only a few bucks, but an apple as well.
“I know you may grab fast food, but please, eat this apple,” says Hasan, as the man confirms he is going to grab a slice of pizza. There is change in the air; not only seasonally, but how a community is redefining itself.
Hasan returns to his shop, where he starts sorting the hundred-plus bags into different piles for dry cleaning, ready-to-wear, etc. Then, he plans to reach out to the several worship centres he already spoke to and make his deliveries.