MOSQUE volunteers have distributed more than 70,000 food packs during the coronavirus pandemic.

Members of the Masjid E Tauheedul Islam Community care team visited 15,000 homes, many of them belonging to non-Muslims, in Blackburn and Darwen.

The Tauheedul Islam mosque was among a range of partners who had been working with the council to support local residents through the pandemic. Others organisations included BwD Healthy Living, Blackburn Youth Zone, Business Partners, Benefit Mankind and the foodbanks in both Blackburn and Darwen.

Mubarak Chati, from the organisation, said: “We made an announcement for volunteers on March 20 and were inundated with helpers within the first week of the lockdown. It was fantastic to see the community unite in this way to help all the residents in the borough.”

The care team handled more than 500 calls and delivered 205 emergency food packs, completing 77 shopping visits up until June 6. This was made all the more remarkable as volunteers were fasting throughout the month of Ramadan.

Maullana Suhail Manya said: “One of the most wonderful things was how our volunteers were greeted and spoken to on the doorsteps. Some were told that they had helped to change perceptions completely. Our volunteers loved going to Higher Croft and Mill Hill.

“There were so many highlights. We had an 80-year-old man who was suffering from cancer and he had not received a visitor in such a long time. He was overwhelmed that someone had made an effort to come to his home.

“We wanted to make the mosque a focal point for the community and non-Muslims and do our best to help everyone during this time of crisis.”

The food packs were paid for by £35,000 in donations raised by the mosque.

Maullana Suhail said: “It was wonderful for local residents and businesses to support this worthy cause and we can’t thank them enough. We had people who don’t even attend the mosque donate to the cause.”

One person said: “We don’t live in Blackburn but my husband was born and brought up there and his 95-year-old mum still lives these in the Lammack area.

"Fiercely independent, she was at the front of her house when two men approached her and handed her a carrier bag. She was overwhelmed at the two strangers doing this for, and are we."