year of giving

Ramadan Fridge initiative keeps doors open

Public can continue donating food through theses fridges in 80 mosques around Dubai throughout the year

14:00 August 31, 2017

Dubai: This Eid, Dubai residents have a way of ensuring those in need have reason to celebrate too, thanks to Dubai Municipality’s decision to make its Ramadan Fridge initiative a permanent one.

The Ramadan fridges, which were placed at 80 mosques across the Emirate under the UAE Food Bank initiative, will continue supporting those living in hardship, Gulf News has learnt.

The fridges are sponsored by different companies that have partnered with the UAE Food Bank initiative launched by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, as part of the Year of Giving.

During Ramadan, people donated from their iftar and suhour meals to the fridges.

Senior officials of Dubai Municipality have confirmed that “the Food Distribution Committee overseeing the fridges has been working on the process of re-operating refrigerators in the mosques to make them ready for receiving donations from people and to facilitate access to food by people in need.”

The Committee is working in collaboration with the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department regarding re-equipping the refrigerators in the mosques.

“We want the community engagement to be part of the UAE Food Bank. So, we have decided to continue the operations of the Ramadan Fridges,” Khalid Mohammad Sherif Al Awadi, Dubai Municipality’s Assistant Director General for Health, Safety and Environment Control told Gulf News.

He said the municipality has launched a media campaign to increase public awareness about the fridges. “The public were notified with the locations of the fridges through Instagram posts and other social media channels. Also they can call 800900 [hotline number of municipality’s call centre] and they can enquire about the locations as well,” he added.

A list containing the locations of the mosques where the Ramadan fridges are placed [in Arabic only] is also posted on the municipality’s portal www.dm.gov.ae under the UAE Food Bank section (https://tinyurl.com/y72y49ea).

On its social media platforms, the civic body has also released a QR Code, by scanning which smartphone users can find out the location of the mosques that have these fridges.

As part of the awareness campaign on social media, Dubai Municipality has released an animated video to show how residents can donate food through these refrigerators.

“Contribute through #UAEFoodBank’s initiative to provide the food surplus for needy families through refrigerators spread over 80 mosques,” says one of the awareness messages posted on the civic body’s social media accounts.

Volunteers needed

Eman Al Bastaki, the Director of the Food Safety Department, said the civic body is expecting more community volunteers to come forward to sustain the food donation through these fridges throughout the year.

She said that more than 25 volunteers had taken part in the charity initiative during Ramadan.

People from different walks of life, including students, had signed up to become volunteers under the campaign. Volunteers registered with the Community Development Authority (CDA) were given training to ensure safety of the food donated through the fridge initiative. Volunteers can choose the mosque based on the area they reside in.

Noura Abdullah Al Shamsi, Head of Permits and Applied Nutrition Section, said the department has assigned inspectors who are in charge of making sure that the fridges are located in safe areas that meet with Dubai municipality’s food safety requirements.

“They also ensure that the fridges are operating under the right temperature, in addition to ensuring that the donated food is in a safe condition, covered properly, and stored using the right material.”

She urged residents to make sure they follow strict hygiene practices and comply with the food safety guidelines issued for donation through the refrigerators in the mosques.