Two Muslim officers helped save Christmas for a St. Jamestown family.
A 51 Division officer played Santa to a St. Jamestown family who had their Christmas dinner stolen two days before the holiday, delivering a turkey and trimmings on Christmas Eve.
Sergeant Abdul Nuri had responded to a radio call at the building for an elderly man with a medical emergency, when he was alerted to the theft by security officers at the building, just after midnight on Tuesday, December 22.
“I promised them I would replace the food,” said Nuri, of the pledge he made to the family after taking their report to police. He called on fellow officer Sergeant Aly Virji, who put him in touch with contacts that led him to the Yonge St. Mission, who provided the food. “We have great resources in this city. The police are a conduit between the community and social agencies.”
Florence McKinnon was tearful when Nuri delivered the goods to her Toronto Community Housing apartment on Christmas Eve.
“He helped us out very much and he said he would replace it and he came through – thank you very much,” said the 62-year-old grandmother, who will be cooking alongside her daughters this year. “It takes a big burden off of me. I truly didn’t have the money to replace that food. I would have been stuck. I would have pulled through but it wouldn’t be a normal Christmas.”
It takes a big burden off of me. I truly didn’t have the money to replace that food. I would have been stuck. I would have pulled through but it wouldn’t be a normal Christmas.
She said this year has been especially tough and wanted to ensure she had a special Christmas planned to share with her three children and two grandchildren. “I really appreciate it so much,” said Florence. “Christmas is about family and especially this year as my sister has passed away.”
Nuri said that, having grown up in Toronto Community Housing, he knows that many families are stretched thin all year round, but especially over the holiday season.
“The majority of people are good, hard-working people struggling to make ends meet,” Nuri said. “Quite often, it is these same people who are victimized.” He said that these are the people least likely to ask for help and was happy to provide some to the family.
“Aly and I had a laugh that two Muslim guys were planning Christmas dinner – you got to love Toronto,” said Nuri, noting that bringing family together over the holidays is something anyone can relate to.