One of the UAE's leading charitable organisations is to serve up more than 8,000 free meals to people in need each day during Ramadan.
The Dar Al Ber Society also pledged to provide clothing for 1,600 people through donations.
Its humanitarian drive is being launched to offer a vital lifeline to those hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Relieving the burden and anguish of those in need is important, especially so for those who have been impacted the most by the coronavirus pandemic," said Lewis Bullock, head of communications, events and activities with the society, which was established in 1979.
The society is spearheading a number of community initiatives throughout the holy month.
Other projects include giving food baskets to 1,000 people across the month, as well as raising Zakat Al Fitr for 7,000 beneficiaries in the UAE.
Zakat, one of the five pillars of Islam, is a sustained payment directed to good causes, based on a percentage of the payer's income.
Zakat Al Fitr refers to charitable donations distributed to the needy during Eid Al Fitr and is typically collected in the final days of Ramadan.
People keen to support the various endeavours are asked to do so through the society.
"You can contribute via the official website for the Dar Al Ber Society or the smart application, or via customer service centres spread across the country – in Dubai, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah – as well as through representatives of the society in shopping centres and malls," Mr Bullock said.
“It is possible to participate and contribute to the announced projects by the Dar Al Ber Society only through the official channels announced by the society.”
People urged to support official charities
Anyone collecting money for charity in the UAE must be officially registered with the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department (Iacad).
Failure to have permission from Iacad to collect donations or advertise for fundraising campaigns can lead to a jail sentence of up to one year or a fine of up to Dh100,000 ($27,225).
Ramadan is expected to begin on Monday, April 12.
It will be the second year that the holy month has taken place amid the pandemic.
The unique circumstances make it all the more important to support the work of organisations such as the Dar Al Ber Society, Mr Bullock said.
Despite the safety restrictions in place last year, a number of initiatives were launched to help vulnerable people who had been adversely affected by the pandemic.
The 10 Million Meals campaign, announced by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, captured the imagination of the public.
It set out to provide 10 million meals for those in the UAE on low incomes, especially individuals and families who had lost jobs due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
The project was an overwhelming success, with more than 15 million meals being donated – greatly exceeding an already impressive target.
Sheikh Mohammed said more than 100,000 people representing 115 nationalities gave up their time to help deliver the huge number of meals.