Dubai: The UAE Food Bank has initiated a campaign to provide three million meals and food parcels to disadvantaged individuals and families both in the UAE and abroad during the holy month of Ramadan.
The initiative has been undertaken on the directives of Her Highness Sheikha Hind bint Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum, wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of UAE Food Bank,
In collaboration with various partners, the UAE Food Bank, affiliated with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, has announced its initiatives for Ramadan. Besides distributing three million donated meals, these initiatives are aimed at managing food surplus, reducing wastage, and providing sustenance to those in need both within and beyond the UAE. The organisation also seeks to raise public awareness regarding the crucial goal of achieving zero food waste.
Dawoud Al Hajri, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Trustees, emphasised the bank’s commitment to its humanitarian message of valuing food and serving the needy. “The UAE Food Bank’s initiatives are aligned with the UAE’s core principles of goodness, benevolence, and sustainability. Through its diverse activities and initiatives, the UAE Food Bank aims to promote these values globally, in accordance with its vision and mission of managing food surplus, reducing waste, and delivering food to beneficiaries locally and worldwide.”
Al Hajri explained that the initiatives planned for Ramadan will foster social responsibility and collaboration between the bank, its partners, and members of society. “Through the collection and distribution of both monetary and food donations to those in need, the initiatives will encourage volunteering and engagement in the bank’s operations and activities, promoting social ideals of goodness and cohesion. The projects’ ultimate goals are to provide food to as many people in need as possible while minimising waste, reflecting the Bank’s mission to manage food surplus and ensure its delivery to beneficiaries, locally and globally,” he said.
Three million meals
Manal bin Yaarouf, Chairperson of the UAE Food Bank Steering Committee, outlined the bank’s plans for Ramadan, highlighting the critical role of cooperation between all food enterprises. “The bank will work with these partners to gather three million meals, which will be transported to the bank and then sent outside the UAE in collaboration with the Emirates Red Crescent. Hotels and Iftar tents will also play a vital role in collecting any surplus food, and authorities will work together to identify the optimal time and location to deliver this food to the Bank and charitable organisations. By delivering high-quality food and preventing food waste through the integrated management of surplus food in all phases of gathering and distribution, the Bank’s initiatives aim to raise awareness about the importance of reducing food waste and ensuring optimal distribution, contributing to the global fight against hunger,” she said.
Bin Yaarouf also emphasised the crucial role of engagement with the private sector, highlighting the bank’s plans to strengthen its collaboration with recycling businesses that convert food unfit for human consumption into oils and agricultural fertilisers to support sustainability and protect the environment. This initiative aligns with the UAE’s commitment to sustainability and the declaration of 2023 as the Year of Sustainability by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE.
Bin Yaarouf added that the Bank launched the ‘Your Harees on us’ initiative in collaboration with Dubai’s Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department to promote social responsibility and volunteering among community members. “The initiative encourages restaurants to reserve at least one portion of Harees, a traditional Emirati dish, and distribute it to Iftar tents. This initiative aims to foster the values of giving and generosity,” she said.
The UAE Food Bank will oversee various aspects of the ‘Your Harees on us’ initiative, including selecting the primary volunteering restaurants, setting the guidelines and schedule for the distribution of Harees meals, and recruiting volunteers. Moreover, the Bank will collaborate with Iftar tents to arrange the delivery of the meals, establish a process for families who wish to contribute to the project to donate and ensure that the meals reach those in need of them.
The UAE Food Bank and Ne’ma, the national initiative to reduce food loss and wastage, have collaborated on an initiative to enhance community awareness, education, and empowerment in making better decisions regarding food consumption. The project also aims to promote sustainable practices that demonstrate social responsibility and optimum food management while reducing food loss. This initiative aligns with the National Food Security Strategy, which aims to establish an integrated system that prevents food wastage in supply chains.
In addition to increasing community awareness and promoting the donation of surplus food for distribution or recycling, the initiative aims to strengthen collaboration and coordination efforts to facilitate smooth food pick-up from various hospitality entities, such as restaurants, hotels, and caterers. The initiative also seeks to ensure that surplus food is directed towards individuals and communities in need.
The UAE Food Bank’s social responsibility efforts encompass several awareness campaigns to promote a sustainable food consumption culture among individuals, enhance community awareness of the Bank’s initiatives, and highlight the significance of food surplus management and loss mitigation. The Bank also encourages people to volunteer and participate in its initiatives, including the distribution of food to beneficiaries.