Food Drive UAE feed the underprivileged during Ramadan

Food Drive UAE are a group of young men and women who roam around Dubai handing out food boxes every Friday during Ramadan.

Khalifa bin Hendi and his team of volunteers distribute food packages in Al Quoz. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
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DUBAI // Every Friday during Ramadan, a group of young men and women have been roaming the city, handing out boxes of food.

They are part of Food Drive UAE, a social initiative set up to help underprivileged families during the holy month.

The team collects food items such as rice, flour, sugar, pasta and oil from the community, then hands out enough to each recipient to feed a family.

“Giving away food supplies to less fortunate families is a tradition in the UAE as it is also a part of our religion or what we call sadaqah, which is voluntary charity,” said Khalifa bin Hendi, 23, founding member of 1971 Social Enterprise.

He said the initiative was open to everyone “as doing good knows no borders” and provides great rewards.

1971 has joined with Social Bandage, a similar social enterprise organisation, and collaborated with the Royati Family Society, Al Abbar Designs and Provedore Restaurant to plan, run and promote the Ramadan food initiative.

Lina Al Killani, head of social projects at Royati Family Society, said the main purpose of the initiative was to remind the public of those who were less fortunate at this time of focus on compassion, empathy and giving.

“The core of the initiative is providing real support for the families and labour workers by supplying essential foods for Ramadan and showing gratitude to them,” Ms Al Killani said.

“We should always unite the communities and bring everyone close in order for us to be in a proper society and a socially aware community.”

The Royati Family Society has a database of information on orphans, widows and others in need in the region, and this has been used to choose to whom the boxes of food are given.

Aisha Harib, 27, founding member of Social Bandage, said the initiative has really grabbed the attention of the community and has had a high turnout of repeat volunteers for the initiative despite the summer’s heat and long hours of fasting.

“We are blessed with a very active group of volunteers who are always excited, ready to help and be ooperative,” Ms Harib said.

“They are all more than happy to be part because volunteering has become a habit and activity they want to be involved in every Ramadan.”

She quoted a hadith by the Prophet Mohammed, which said: “Love for your brother as you love for yourself.”

“We definitely love to help others and try our best to provide them what they need,” Ms Harib said.

“Helping others is an absolutely great feeling. Once you start doing it, you can’t stop.

“We should always remind ourselves of helping others and supporting the community even with some small thing because every little helps.

“Do not underestimate any help you give to others as one small good deed will lead to bigger and better good acts in the future.”