Saving Grace project mulls starting catering service in Ramadan

Another purpose of the catering facility is to encourage people to pay to feed a certain number of people as a way of giving back.

By Olivia Olarte-ulherr/senior Reporter

Published: Tue 30 Jun 2015, 11:59 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:09 PM

Abu Dhabi - The Hefth Al Ne’ma (Preservation of Grace) project by the Emirates Red Crescent is mulling over opening its own bakery and catering service to provide Ramadan meals.

Sultan Mohammed Al Shehhi, project manager of Hefth Al Ne’ma also known as ‘Saving Grace’ said this is still “under study” but the existing facility in Mussafah can be fitted to accommodate the plan.

He said the idea is to produce in-house some of the hot meals being distributed to needy people during Ramadan and throughout the year. “We are distributing between 20,000 and 30,000 meals everyday during Ramadan,” he stated.

He said another purpose of the catering facility is to encourage people to pay to feed a certain number of people as a way of giving back.

Food for the poor

The Saving Grace project started in 2004 with cooked food collected from hotels, palaces and houses and distributed to poor people, orphans and labourers for the entire year.

This was later followed by boxes of food items that include rice, oil, tea, flour, milk powder and pasta from food companies.

“Every month, we give 200 rations to orphan families,” said Al Shehhi. But the busy period is during Ramadan.

Last year, a total of 267,925 hot meals were distributed by Red Crescent across the UAE while 3,213 ration boxes reached needy families. The centre also distributed 11.5 tonnes of meat, 60.5 tonnes of fruits and vegetables, 41,565 bags of bread and 15 tonnes of other raw food items.

“The goal is to increase our distribution by 20 per cent every year,” said Al Shehhi, adding that the target this year is to distribute 350,000 hot meals and 5,000 ration boxes.

Donate clothes

Used clothes (including shoes and blankets) collection is another drive under the Saving Grace project which started in 2012. Last year, Red Crescent donated nine tonnes of clothes to poor people outside the country while 1,505 families and orphans benefitted in the UAE.

“Rather than throw out old clothes, save them and give them away,” urged Al Shehhi.

“Saving Grace should be in every house because we are all here together to help people. I alone cannot do it. But when you donate, you should give in a good way like you would like to wear it yourself. This is a gift for poor people and they should at least look like new,” he advised.

The process that goes into preparing the clothes for distribution is long. They have to be washed if not clean, mended if required, sorted according to size, labelled and sealed in plastic. They are then placed inside a gift box.

“Give us nice clothes and we will send that clothes in a nice way,” said Al Shehhi, noting that donations from the public can also be collected by calling 8005011.

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