Abu Dhabi: The Red Crescent Society (RCS) is gearing up to launch a Ramadan campaign to provide assistance to the less fortunate not just in the UAE but all over the world.

Over 28,000 families will benefit from zakat (donation to the needy which represent one of the five pillars of Islam) and food donations or shopping coupons.

The coupons have been already allocated to Red Crescent branches for distribution among the poor.

"Families will get shopping coupons to do their purchases at the Abu Dhabi Cooperative Society or other supermarkets depending on each emirate. The number of coupons a family gets depends on the number of family members," an official told Gulf News.

Some 42,000 people have made donations to the Red Crescent (RCS) this year so far.

Mohammad Al Qumzi, general secretary of the Red Crescent, said it was always "ready for partnership with organisations".

Around 275,000 people are expected to be iftar guests at RCS tents that will be set up at 96 sites across the UAE during Ramadan this year.

New project

Visiting the elderly and offering emotional support is a new project that has been added to the Red Crescent activities this year.

Al Qumzi called on the public to share the responsibility and pay visits to hospitals to enquire about the elderly.

"A flower or just a smile can make a difference in their lives and show them they are not forgotten," he said.

"We have a huge commitment towards Palestine. Food worth Dh4-5 million was given to the Palestinians in Gaza. We have Dh300 million worth of projects for Palestine," Al Qumzi said. "Support has been offered to Libyans at Libya's borders with the assistance of the Egyptian and the Tunisian Red Crescent," he added.

"Dh150 million have been collected for Pakistan to provide shelter, food and medical assistance," he said, adding that an additional Dh120 million had been earmarked for the reconstruction of flood-devastated regions.

"We also need professional volunteers, engineers, doctors and others but unfortunately the concept of volunteering is not common or well understood in our society," Al Qumzi added.

Donations can be given at 300 RCS sites across the UAE, mostly at mosques.