Dubai: For over three years An Thi Thu has not missed a day (barring Friday / Saturday and when she is away on a holiday) to distribute free bread to blue collar workers in Dubai.
Take this: An Thi Thu, Vietnamese (35) gives away 50 kilos of wasted bread every day as part of her efforts to reduce food wastage in Dubai. She collects the bread from a local bread manufacturing company - Gulf Bagel Factory - to distribute it free to blue collar workers in Dubai.
She targets construction sites and residential developments where these workers are. The areas include Al Quoz, Al Barsha and others.
It is her sheer grit and determination to help the needy that has kept her going and not miss even a day to reach out to workers in the city.
“It all started around 2014 when I was working at the bread manufacturing unit, and I wanted to do something to help people in need.
“When I was working at the factory, I realised that there was a considerable amount of bread that was wasted on a daily basis. It is not that the quality of bread is bad. The bread that is thrown away merely does not meet the standard quality unit (SQU) of the company and hence it is discarded. So I thought – why not put this bread to good use by giving to people in need. And thus started my journey of distributing free bread to blue collar workers in Dubai.”
Christopher Gauci, general managers of Gulf Bagel Factory said: “The company strongly believes in sustainability. On an average, we produce 200,000 bread units per day. Of this 1.5 per cent is discarded as it does not meet our standards. It is not that the bread is of poor quality. It is just that quality of bread does not meet our standard. When An Thi Thu approached us to distribute this extra bread to the needy. We agreed. We trusted her and we knew she would not use it for her personal benefit.”
“An is a very sincere person and her dedication is remarkable. Our idea has been to keep food wastage to the minimum and by distributing it to the needy, we are doing the same,” he added.
An said every day she and a group of friends pick up the bread from the factory. They gather at her place or any other volunteers place to make food packets. “The food packets include bagels, bread, muffins, a fruit juice can or packet, some crackers at times. We load the food packets into our cars and reach out to workers at various construction sites or residential development. When I started out initially it was just me doing the rounds of giving the bread away. It is heartening to see how so many people have joined me in this endeavour. People have been spreading the word about my efforts and more volunteers are joining the fray,” said An.