Mujtaba Siddique is a fourth-year biological sciences student at the University of Alberta who recently had a conversation with a homeless man on the train.
“He sat beside me and asked if he could tell me about his day,” said Mujtaba. “During our conversation, he opened up about what it’s like being homeless and the challenges that are against him every day.”
Prior to meeting this stranger on the train, Mujtaba did not have the depth of knowledge and awareness to understand the hardships of individuals facing homelessness. The conversation heightened Mujtaba’s perspective about the homeless crisis in Edmonton.
“The man told me his struggles of getting a job, avoiding drug users on the street, finding food to eat and other challenges that he faces every day,” said Mujtaba.
“One thing that really stood out to me was when he mentioned how he needed a bike to help him get around and how stealing one would be easy but he refuses to do so and wants to earn enough money to buy one himself.”
After thinking and reflecting upon the conversation, Mujtaba decided to make a change and contacted a close friend about the idea of starting an annual care package day for homeless individuals in Edmonton.
“This is when we started Boxed Blessings, an organization that makes care packages containing useful items such as hats, mittens, small heat pads and food in hopes to distribute them to as many people as possible,” said Mujtaba. “I reached out to the Mustard Seed who listened to my story and provided me with the support to initiate my vision – they’re amazing!”
Mujtaba’s goal is to create awareness and get community involvement to make a change for those who are homeless in Edmonton.
“We feel like this can be the beginning of something great and we can’t wait to embark on this journey!”