ABU DHABI // Untouched food leftover from iftars as well as unwanted clothes and furniture are being donated to thousands of needy families and poor workers across the UAE as part of a Ramadan campaign launched by an Abu Dhabi-based social responsibility organisation.
Nahtam and Grace Conservation, which falls under the umbrella of the UAE Red Crescent, is working to collect and distribute the items..
“Collecting food surplus is a very sensitive area because the quality, transportation and surroundings of the food have be handled well and hygienically within a fixed time,” said George Itty, Nahtam’s chief executive. “We have to act quick because it’s the last moment.”
Staff collect untouched food leftover from iftar from a number of hotels and restaurants to be distributed to labour camps and poor families.
“We get on average 50 to 100 kilogrammes after each iftar and 300 grams to half a kilogramme is sufficient for one person,” Mr Itty said. “Grace conservation means to conserve your blessings which include having enough food, water, clothes, facilities and health so all our activities help in that.”
Unwanted clothes and furniture can also be donated by calling 800 5011. The furniture is repaired and polished before being handed over.
“Such good deeds are very important,” said Mr Itty. “I am almost 60 years old and if we don’t share our culture and what we have with the new generation and the younger people, they will not know what humanity and opportunity are. Our new generation are blessed children and we have to show them to the right way so they can adapt very quickly.”
A campaign launched by the group on Sunday allows people to donate money. “We partnered with Khalidiya Mall where there are now three big leafless trees in the main atrium,” Mr Itty said. “Each person can buy a leaf for Dh10 and hang it on one of the trees, from 10am to 2am the next day. It’s a simple but nice thought.”
Residents said such campaigns translate the true meaning of Ramadan.
“This month is meant to be about giving back and feeling blessed,” said Noor Mohammed, a 26-year-old Egyptian living in Abu Dhabi.
“It is a nice reminder of how thankful we should be for what we have and how we can help others that are less fortunate than us. I always like to support such initiatives because we get so busy throughout the year that we tend to forget how important these things actually are.”
A two-week trial of a post-Ramadan project aimed at distributing water and other drinks to outdoor workers in Abu Dhabi during the hot summer months has recently been completed by the organisation.
“We concentrate on construction workers, road cleaners and gardeners because they’re always in the sun,” Mr Itty said. “Community activities need a trial to find out what their practical difficulties are. Here, we found that a lot of them were shy or worried about our intentions simply because they are not used to it.”
One Indian gardener from Rajasthan said he sent every penny he made back home to his family so donations such as these were gratefully received.
“We always count everything we make and send it back to our villages for our children’s education, our older parents who need medicine and our wife,” said the 50-year-old, who did not want to be named. “We always think about our families and this is at least a great appreciation for us, that somebody is thinking about us.”
Volunteers for the organisation’s humanitarian campaigns can apply here.
Source: uae news