10 million meals campaign Image Credit: Social media

Dubai: All segments of the UAE community are massively backing the country’s biggest food distribution campaign, ‘10 Million Meals’, launched on April 19 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Businesspersons, Emiratis, expats, inidividuals, companies, government departments and organisations of various kinds continue to heavily contribute financially to the campaign, which started days before Ramadan, an Islamic month that routinely sees new humanitarian initiatives.

10 Million Meals was launched by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai and is led by his wife Shaikha Hind Bint Maktoum Bin Juma Al Maktoum, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of UAE Food Bank.

Huge response

Within the first two days of the campaign’s launch, more than 15,000 individuals, entrepreneurs and companies pledged online and SMS donations of 450,000 meals. Thousands of other financial and in-kind donations poured into the campaign’s other two channels of bank transfers and call centre.

The meals are benefitting communities in the UAE impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

Rising tally

Also, within in a few days of campaign’s launch, its the call centre received calls from owners and managers of 50 restaurants and catering companies, adding 400,000 additional meals to the campaign, with an average of 13,360 meals a day.

One caller, Mohammad Al Fahimi, told the call centre agents ‘Maria Bonita’ in Dubai will be providing 2,000 meals during the month of Ramadan, expressing gratitude to the UAE and appreciation for all those who work on the campaign.

On Saturday, it was announced that Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has allocated 30 taxis daily to deliver thousands of meals to the beneficiaries of the campaign. In addition, RTA will donate topped-up Nol cards to senior citizens and resident families of taxi drivers to enable them to purchase their needs in Ramadan. The authority will also be providing Iftar throughout Ramadan for the cleaning staff and security officials at Latifa Hospital, Rashid Hospital and Dubai Ambulance Service, “as well as those who work in silence in such difficult times”.

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Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of RTA, said, “[Shaikh Mohammad], a pioneer in humanitarian acts and white hands in the field of charity, has made it a habit for us to launch humanitarian and social initiatives to serve humanity across the world. The ‘Dubai Cares’ initiative was aimed at spreading education in poor countries, the campaign ‘Noor Dubai’ is to restore hope for the people deprived of the blessing of sight, then the initiative ‘Dress One Million Needy Children’, the ‘Suqia’ campaign, and the ‘Reading Nation’ initiative - these initiatives and campaigns come in support of the path of giving, whose rules were laid down by our founding father, the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, as the act of goodness has become the identity of the UAE.”

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Yusuff Ali MA, Chairman of Lulu International Group Image Credit: Supplied

On Friday, Yussuff Ali MA, Chairman of Lulu International Group, donated Dh1 million to provide 125,000 meals (each meal costs Dh8).

The campaign is organised by Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, in cooperation with the Community Solidarity Fund Against COVID-19.

The UAE Food Bank, Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Establishment, and UAE Water Aid Foundation (Suqia UAE) will carry out the campaign in a network of collaborations with ministries, federal and local entities and humanitarian and charitable organisations in the UAE.

In a statement, Ali said the campaign is one of the distinguished humanitarian initiatives as it coincides with the holy month of Ramadan and aims to help those most affected by the pandemic.

On the same day it was announced that Dr Abdul Qader Al Sankari, Chairman of Sankari Investment Group, and his sons made a preliminary contribution of Dh2 million, which will provide 250,000 meals and food parcels.

Also joining the list of donors on Friday was The Hussain Sajwani - DAMAC Foundation with a donation of Dh1 million to provide 125,000 meals to communities affected by the coronavirus.

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Hussain Sajwani Image Credit: Supplied

Hussain Sajwani, Founder and Chairman of DAMAC Properties, said, “It’s an honor for every entity and company to support the ’10 million meals’ campaign as it serves the noble cause of beating hunger. The campaign provides a basic life necessity that brings a sense of safety and reassurance to people facing the most uncertain times.”

Union Coop was another donor announcing a contribution of Dh1 million the same day.

1.5 million meals

The announcements followed Thursday’s donation of Dh25 million by Dubai-based Beit Al Khair Society, which will help provide 1.5 million meals and over 19,200 food parcels.

Beit Al Khair Society said, “now is the right time to contribute towards the ‘10 million meals’ that ensures no one sleeps hungry in the UAE especially during the holy month of Ramadan”.

Secret donor

Some of the contributions have taken place anonymously, such as a Dh1 million donation by an unidentified giver the same day, who only said, “Through this noble campaign, we implement the values of compassion and humanity that the UAE has become a global model for, thanks to its humanitarian efforts that continue to benefit people across the world.”

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Ali Abdulla Al Shafar Image Credit: Supplied

Also on Thursday, prominent Emirati businessman Ali Abdulla Al Shafar and his sons donated Dh1 million to provide 125,000 meals and food parcels.

A day earlier, on Wednesday, Liberty Dental Clinic had announced donating 12,000 meals, worth Dh100,000.

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Marwan al Sayyah Image Credit: Supplied

Also announcing its contribution the same day was Al Sayyah & Sons Investment with a donation of 250,000 meals, worth Dh2 million.

Another donor joining Wednesday’s list was Emirates Islamic with Dh5 million to provide 625,000 meals.

Water bottles

It is not just meals being sponsored – water bottles have also been donated. The UAE Water Aid Foundation (Suqia UAE) announced on Wednesday it is donating 10 million water bottles, worth Dh5 million, to be distributed with meals, in collaboration with Mai Dubai.

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Saeed Mohammad Al Tayer Image Credit: Supplied

Saeed Mohammad Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Suqia UAE, said, “these difficult times reveal our true values of generosity and humanity”.

On Sunday, the Community Development Authority (CDA) announced securing 500,000 meals, worth Dh4 million, to be distributed to communities affected by the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak in Dubai as part of the ‘10 million meals’ campaign.

Ahmed Julfar, Director General of CDA, said, “the ‘10 million meals’ campaign presents a practical response to the most vulnerable at this unprecedented time through unifying humanitarian efforts and capabilities across the country.”

He added, “the ’10 million meals’ campaign reflects the UAE’s message to the world that we are all one family that supports each other.”

5,500-kg of dates donated

Majid Bin Ghalita from Dubai offered 90 boxes for the campaign through the call center, while Ms. Shamsa Abdul Mannan from Al Ain, provided 195 boxes, 8 kg per box with a total weight of 1560 km, and caller Ali Mohammed Hussein Al Hashemi from Dubai pledged to provide 400 boxes for the campaign, as well as many others who communicate with the centre to spare this authentic fruit to beneficiaries.

Four ways to donate

Individuals and entities can make financial or in-kind donations to provide food assistance to people in need as part of the ’10 million meals’ campaign.

Donors can purchase a preferred number of meals online at www.10millionmeals.ae to be distributed to disadvantaged individuals and families across the country. They can also donate via SMS (Etisalat and Du) to numbers listed on the website.

Donors can make a transfer to ’10 million meals’ campaign bank account at Dubai Islamic Bank with IBAN no.:AE430240001580857000001.

For in-kind contributions, donors have the chance to provide packaged or canned food supplies or arrange food parcels for distribution through directly contacting the campaign’s organizing team on the toll-free number 8004006.