Dubai's Sheikha Hind launches drive to distribute five million meals during Ramadan

UAE Food Bank initiative aims to provide 166,666 meals daily over the holy month

More than 5,000 volunteers will support the UAE Food Bank's goal. Photo: Dubai Media Office
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Sheikha Hind bint Maktoum, wife of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, on Tuesday launched a campaign that aims to give five million meals to families in need this Ramadan.

The UAE Food Bank initiative was announced on social media network X by Sheikh Mohammed on Tuesday.

State news agency, Wam, later reported on Friday that the drive will provide 166,666 meals daily to feed more than half a million families and over three million workers.

More than 5,000 volunteers will support the bank's food drive, along with over 350 partners, including food facilities, hotels and restaurants.

The goal will be achieved through several key campaigns including: your iftar is on us; donate a food parcel; iftar with the workers; cook of thousand meals; and no for wasting food.

Additionally, it is hoped to launch 25 educational programmes to raise awareness of environmental sustainability, social responsibility and volunteering.

The initiative is held under the directives of Sheikha Hind, who is also chairperson of the UAE Food Bank.

"With these initiatives, our objective is to promote responsible food management and reduce food waste," Dawoud Al Hajri, deputy chairman of the board of trustees of the UAE Food Bank.

"We further aspire to cultivate a sense of social responsibility, encourage volunteerism, and actively gather and distribute financial and food donations to beneficiaries,” he said.

“Our efforts are aimed at instilling values of compassion, generosity, and solidarity within the community, ensuring the efficient distribution of surplus food to the widest possible segment during the holy month of Ramadan."

Mr Al Hajri said the bank’s goal is to divert 975 tonnes of food waste from landfills during Ramadan, which he said was equivalent to planting 102,135 trees annually.

This commitment aligns with the bank's dedication to environmental sustainability and contribute to the broader objectives of the bank to cut food waste by 30 per cent by 2027, Wam reported.

For the "your iftar is on us" initiative, the bank aims to provide 350,000 meals, donated by more than 50 organisations. The “donate a food parcel” drive is projected to supply up to 1.5 million meals.

It also aims to provide meals to more than 2,000 workers in Dubai, while a competition – cook of a thousand meals - will see chefs aim to cook and distribute 4,000 meals daily over five days during Ramadan in the UAE.

The bank is also to collaborate with 200 donors from fruit and vegetable markets, commercial entities and wholesale markets to redistribute surplus food and provide up to two million meals. Additionally, any surplus cooked meals from local restaurants and hotels will also be distributed.

Wam also reported the bank is aiming to further cut food waste by recycling 1.5 million meals of surplus food into fertiliser that will be distributed to farmers in Hatta. This will be implemented with the National Food Loss and Waste initiative, Ne'ma, and in partnership with the private sector.

Since its inception in 2017, the UAE Food Bank has successfully distributed meals to more than 35 million beneficiaries, both locally and globally.

Last year, the organisation saved more than 908,000kg of food from landfill during Ramadan.

About 40 per cent of food is wasted in the UAE, costing Dh6 billion each year, according to a survey released in 2023.

The study is from Ne’ma, and the Behavioural Science Group, and was unveiled at Cop28.

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Updated: March 15, 2024, 11:38 AM