Dubai: The concept of filling up a spare fridge with food and drinks and making it available to community workers has inspired over 9,000 people this Ramadan.
Most Dubai communities have adopted the cause, motivating residents in neighbouring emirates to do the same.
To date, there are 41 fridges being regularly refilled across Dubai communities, all for the purpose of reaching out to those most in need, said Sumaya Sayed, the organiser of the initiative.
“It’s a little more challenging in Abu Dhabi as most people live in apartments, but we are expecting at least two to three fridges to be set up in Abu Dhabi by the end of the week,” said Sayed.
The community-based initiative has residents placing fridges in their garages and front lawns, to make food and drink accessible to construction workers, security guards, and gardeners in their area.
The Facebook group ‘Ramadan sharing-fridges in the UAE’ was created by 29 year-old Australian Sumaya Sayed, a resident at Springs, after she kicked off the initiative by setting up the first Ramadan fridge in her front yard.
“After posting the information on the Springs community page, lots of people showed interest and were constantly asking about the address and if they could help by dropping off food. So I created the Facebook page and, within days, thousands of people were joining the cause,” said Sayed.
The initiative has also expanded to Sharjah, where one resident recently set up a Ramadan fridge at a nursery in Al Khan.
Joining the cause a few days ago, Sharjah resident Houda Ammar said she is working with a friend to keep their fridge stocked, especially for iftar. “We placed the fridge at a nursery in an area by Al Khan where there are many workers. We include water, laban, juice, fruits and vegetables and on some days chicken biryani,” she said.
With the growing interest from residents to contribute food items and dishes, Ammar said she expects a large number of Sharjah residents to join the cause.
Through word-of-mouth, more residents were encouraged to set up a Ramadan fridge at their homes, while word spread to workers from across the city.
“I am amazed by the amount of attention and the enthusiasm we are getting from people about getting involved. It’s great to see so many people asking about stocking up, dropping off food, and finding fridges,” explained Sayed.
She pointed out that in most areas, fridges are filling up and emptying out very quickly. “We are trying to keep up with the momentum, and are working round the clock to make sure the fridges are stocked,” she added.
Gulf News also talked to Anne Mulcahy, a resident at the Meadows, who was second to follow the initiative along with her neighbour, Alison Vickery.
“My friend offered her spare fridge, and I offered to place it in my empty garage, and together we set up the second Ramadan fridge location in the Meadows,” said Mulcahy.
Neighbours around the area have been supporting the duo, by dropping off food items along with hot dishes.
“We have a stock ready, and keep refilling the fridge regularly throughout the day. The food items include fruits and vegetables, bottles of juice, and lots of water,” said Mulcahy.
Packs of biscuits and other non-perishable food items are also placed in a box by the fridge.
“We also receive homemade dishes close to the time of iftar, for workers who prefer to end their fast with a hot meal,” said Mulcahy.
The Facebook group has also attracted fridge distributors and companies like Food for Life that have donated over 20kg of fruits and vegetables a day to different Ramadan fridges and an additional 2kg every time an order is made on their website.