Dubai: After serving about 4,500 tonnes of food to the needy since its launch two years ago, the UAE Food Bank is set to feed more disadvantaged people by opening more branches.
The UAE Food Bank’s third branch was opened on Tuesday in Dubai’s Muhaisnah 2 area, providing partner hotels, food trading companies and retail outlets a new option to donate food to residents of worker accommodations in the area.
Dawood Al Hajiri, director-general of Dubai Municipality and deputy chairman of the board of trustees of the UAE Food Bank, inaugurated the new branch located opposite Grand Hypermarket and close to the municipality’s office in Muhaisnah.
After the launch, Al Hajiri and other senior officials donated food packets provided by LuLu Group to dozens of workers in the area.
4500tonnes of food distributed by UAE Food Bank since its launch two years ago
Al Hajiri said the UAE Food Bank will have more branches in other emirates this year in partnership with food establishments.
“We have also signed agreements with food banks in Saudi Arabia and Sudan for the exchange of knowledge and experience,” he added.
Though the UAE Food Bank had signed another agreement last September with the Food Banking Regional Network that connects 33 food banks in the region, officials confirmed that no food consignments had been donated abroad so far.
Khalid Mohammad Sherif Al Awadhi, CEO of the environment, health and safety control sector at Dubai Municipality, said that the food banks in Saudi Arabia and Sudan can share best practices in safe and hygienic donation of surplus food abroad in a cost-effective way.
3branchesin Dubai (Al Quoz, Al Bada’a, Muhaisnah 2)
He added that the Ras Al Khaimah and Ajman municipalities are almost ready with their UAE Food Bank branches.
Al Hajiri said talks are on with the Abu Dhabi Municipality to open a branch in the capital.
“Hopefully, we can do it this year,” he said. “We have donated about 4,500 tonnes of food so far. We are trying to reach more people locally and later internationally.”
Around 40 food establishments and 13 charity organisations have partnered with the UAE Food Bank to channelise food donations to disadvantaged workers, poor families and orphans.
80fridgeslocated in Dubai
In January 2017, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched the UAE Food Bank as a humanitarian initiative that aims to inculcate the values of generosity and offering food, establishing Dubai as the region’s first city in achieving zero food waste to landfills.
The initiative coincided with the Year of Giving.
Municipality to relocate Al Bada’a food bank
Dubai Municipality is planning to relocate the second branch of its food bank and several fridges under the UAE Food Bank project to serve more beneficiaries, said Maitha Al Merri, a senior food grade hygiene officer, who is coordinating the activities.
“We are going to move the food bank in Al Bada’a to another area in Jebel Ali where there are more activities,” she said, referring to various food manufacturing units and warehouses in the area.
The second branch was opened next to the Canadian University of Dubai campus in Al Bada’a in October 2017 following the first one off Al Khail Road in Al Quoz in April 2017.
Al Merri said the municipality’s food banks are designed to be mobile so that they can be relocated as per requirements.
Many of the UAE Food Bank’s 80 fridges spread across mosques and supermarkets in Dubai will also be relocated, she said.
“We want to encourage more residents to donate safe and surplus food to these fridges. Food establishments can also donate food.”
How does the UAE Food Bank work?
■ It has partnered with 40 food establishments and 13 charity organisations linked to the UAE Food Bank through an online system.
■ They upload the data when they have surplus food.
■ The food is collected by charity organisations either through food bank branches (canned, packaged products) or directly from food outlets (cooked meals and fresh produce).
■ The food is then distributed to disadvantaged workers, poor families and orphans.
How can residents donate?
Residents can also donate food through 80 fridges located in mosques and retail outlets across Dubai. Log on to Dubai Municipality’s website www.dm.gov.ae or call 800900 to find out the location of the fridges.
UAE Food Bank
Launched: January 2017
Branches: 3 in Dubai (Al Quoz, Al Bada, Muhaisnah 2)
Fridges: 80 in Dubai
Food donated: 4,500 tonnes