Dubai non-profit sets goal of giving half a million free iftar meals to labourers

The Giving Family has been supplying food boxes in Al Quoz Industrial Area 1 during Ramadan

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An entrepreneur in Dubai has teamed up with thousands of volunteers to serve more than 500,000 iftar meals to labourers, with more than 17,000 free meals already handed out in two days.

Non-profit organisation The Giving Family served the meals to blue-collar workers in labour accommodation in Al Quoz Industrial Area 1.

Individuals, charity organisations, restaurants and private-sector companies donated funds through Beit Al Khair Society to provide free meals to low-income workers.

The meals, which are Dh7 ($1.91) each to make, consist of chicken biryani, a carton of juice and three dates.

Fadie Musallet, founder of The Giving Family, said more than 17,000 free meals had been distributed in the first two days of Ramadan.

We just want to put a smile on their faces and recognise their efforts for building the city
Fadie Musallet, founder of The Giving Family

“We just want to put a smile on their faces and recognise their efforts for building the city,” Mr Musallet, 45, told The National.

“On Friday, we aim to hand out between 10,000 to 15,000 meals.”

Last year, The Giving Family provided more than 200,000 iftar meals to workers during the holy month.

Mr Musallet, also a cast member of Netflix's Dubai Bling, said he hopes to double that number to 500,000 this year with the help of 5,000 volunteers.

He said he was inspired by the 1 Billion Meals campaign launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

“I love giving and this initiative motivated me even more,” he said.

Mr Musallet said anyone can volunteer with the organisation during Ramadan as he has a licence to distribute the meals.

“All you have to do is check our Instagram for the location and timing for the distribution plan, and bring your helping hands.”

During Ramadan, it is customary for Muslims to participate in charity, giving food and money to help those less fortunate.

Residents who want to independently distribute iftar meals to the public during Ramadan must first apply for permission for Dubai's Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department (Iacad).

Ahmed Darwish Al Muhairi, director general of Iacad, said it had issued around 1,200 such permits this Ramadan.

“Our aim is to distribute 1.2 million iftar meals per day across the city,” said Mr Al Muhairi.

Dubai restaurant chain Vietnamese Foodies will also distribute 1,500 meals to those in need during Ramadan, in collaboration with licensed charity, Dubai Good Will.

The iftar meals will include an appetiser, a main course, a bag of fruit and a drink.

“We are delighted to be able to prepare and distribute 1,500 meals during Ramadan,” said Lily Hoa Nguyen, co-founder and executive chef of Vietnamese Foodies.

“Our team is ready to ensure this is a successful project which will benefit the local community to allow us to give back to those who need it.”

The Ramadan initiative will run on March 20 and meals will be handed out at Al Futtaim Mosque in Dubai.

Several initiatives are running throughout Ramadan.

Dar Al Ber Society in Dubai has partnered with hundreds of volunteers to give out 100,000 iftar meals a day during the holy month.

The Emirates Red Crescent's Continuous Giving Campaign will also provide iftar meals for one million people across the UAE, as well as opening women-only Ramadan and iftar tents across Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Ajman for the first time.

Abu Dhabi Police have launched an initiative to hand out more than 62,000 iftar meals to drivers at intersections and traffic signals.

Brigadier Saif Al Shamsi said the annual initiative will operate in the capital and Al Ain City.

“Many volunteers will distribute the light iftar meals in a bid to deter motorists from flouting traffic rules when rushing to break their fast,” he said.

Updated: March 14, 2024, 5:01 AM