It was the 17th day of Ramadan before Areej Saadi was able to break her fast with her daughter.
When most Muslim families would be settling down for iftar at around 7pm, the 40-year-old Palestinian could instead be found out on the streets of Al Ain, distributing meals to those who would otherwise have none.
Sacrificing time with her family to help others is something she learnt from her father.
“I grew up seeing him helping others and seeing my mother split our food then donating almost half,” she said.
The mother of five dedicates the first half of the day volunteering with Emirates Red Crescent then spends what money she has on food to hand out to people in need.
She starts her day at 7.30am, when she is given a list of names that require help.
“Once we know where we are going, along with my amazing team members, we deliver food to those who need it and by 2pm we are done,” she said.
After that, she takes whatever money she has in her wallet that day and spends it on essential food items that she then distributes to low-income families, making sure to maintain physical distancing from the recipients.
She has developed a reputation among the community in Al Ain, where she has lived for 20 years, and now relies on them to tell her who needs a little more help.
A few days before Ramadan began, she was told of a family who had been living on bread for a week.
"I didn’t have much cash at the time, so I went home and packed almost everything I had [to give to them],” she said.
And if she is unable to help herself, she calls on friends to step in.
On the first day of the holy month, she was told of four girls who were under house quarantine with their elderly grandmother after their parents were taken to hospital with Covid-19.
“They had nothing to eat on their first day of fasting so I called my friend who sent them home cooked iftar. Her driver left it on their doorstep,” Ms Saadi said.
“That day I was busy with my volunteering work at a hospital and couldn’t go buy them food and asked my friend to send them food that day but she has continued to send them daily meals.”
Ms Saadi and another friend have partnered with Walam Al Khaleej Restaurant restaurant to provide half-priced meals to almost 50 families in Al Ain daily since March.
Ms Saadi works at a Quran learning centre in the city, where she lives with her daughter.
Before Ramadan began, Ms Areej was volunteering at malls where she would hand out face masks and gloves and advise people on safety measures to protect themselves from contracting Covid-19.
“Now, as malls are reopening, we will be doing the same in order to maintain the safety of everybody,” she said.
But when it comes to her own safety, Ms Areej is sure to follow the advice of health authorities but is not concerned.
“Doing good brings back only good,” she said.
“I volunteer with police, with cancer patients and with the ERC. Bringing happiness to others is a rewarding feeling.”
But Ms Areej is not above receiving help too as her community bands together to support each other. Every day, her daughter breaks her fast at her neighbours house so Ms Areej can be out helping others.
“When my mother once visited me here and saw my friends and neighbours, she told me: ‘You have your family right here with you.”