Motorists to get meals on road during Ramadan

Red Crescent is to distribute fast-food meals on roads leading from Abu Dhabi before sunset during Ramadan.

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Red Crescent will distribute fast-food meals on roads leading from Abu Dhabi to Al Ain, Dubai and Al Sela before sunset during Ramadan. The initiative is part of the charity's food distribution project Hefth al Neama (saving food). The project manager, Sultan al Shehhi, said about 1,500 meals would be distributed from bases on the side of roads near petrol stations.

"We've co-ordinated with a number of foodstuff companies and hotels," he said. "Mainly the meals will be light, for motorists to break their fast while travelling long distances." Hefth al Neama has been operating since 2004 under the patronage of Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan, the assistant to the chief of the Women's Affairs Authority, and aims to limit the amount of food wasted at big celebrations and events.

"There are a lot of weddings in the UAE where food is served in big amounts," said Mr Shehhi. "Therefore, the food that is left untouched and in good condition is packed and distributed to needy families, orphans and labour camps. We aim to spread awareness among society that food is a blessing and should not be put to waste." The secretary general of Red Crescent, Dr Saleh al Taei, said 88,870 meals donated by restaurants, hotels and benefactors had been given to the needy in the past year. Beneficiaries included 1,600 labourers and 700 families.

"We also co-ordinate with school catering companies to give away sandwiches that are left over. Sometimes, there are up to 1,500 sandwiches left, so at noon we give them out to workers; each get two sandwiches and juice." Mr Shehhi said the food was given out on a day-to-day basis before its expiry date. "We are also co-ordinating with Abu Dhabi Inspection Control to inform us about foodstuff left over in food companies two months before its expiry date, so we can distribute it to those in need before the companies destroy it," he said."

He added that Red Crescent hoped to extend the project across the UAE.