A fridge full of free food and kindness in Dubai
The Kindness Fridge is aimed at catering to labourers and the unemployed people.
Inspired by the Year of Giving initiative, Indian restaurant MyGovinda's has launched a Kindness Fridge initiative in Dubai to play a meaningful role in the community and extend its mission of 'health and happiness to all' to those in need.
The Kindness Fridge is aimed at catering to labourers and the unemployed lot who require healthy food after a hard day's work, but might not have the means to purchase it in local restaurants.
Anamika Arun, marketing manager at MyGovinda's, told Khaleej Times: "We place freshly prepared wholesome meal boxes with rice and curry from our restaurant kitchen in the fridge. Apart from the meal boxes, we also put fresh fruit, protein drinks and water in the refrigerator that is placed just outside the restaurant."
The fridge has an open-door policy, where the workers are free to open the fridge themselves and pick what they want to eat or drink.
"The two fridges were installed outside the restaurant outlets in Umm Suqueim and Al Karama a month ago and we make it a point to refill them twice a day as about 15-20 workers queue up to take the fresh food from the fridges during their breaks. We refill the fridge at 3.30pm and 11.30pm every day."
Explaining the objective of the Kindness Fridge, Mahesh Advani, founder and owner of MyGovinda's Restaurant, said: It is a concept fully funded by MyGovinda's. Also, it is to play a meaningful role in the community and extend its mission of 'health and happiness to all' to those in need. Through the medium of this fridge, the brand ensures that healthy food does not remain a privilege to certain sections of the society, since 'hunger is universal'.
"As most of our customers also know about this initiative, some of them order food to be placed in the two self-funded Kindness Fridges on their behalf. That is how we are involving our customers in this initiative. We are not encouraging them to bring food prepared at their homes as we want to maintain the quality of the food for the workers. So if anyone wants to contribute, they can order food from us and we will place it in the fridges," Anamika added.
Mahesh Advani said: "The Dubai summer is hard, especially for the people working long hours in the sun; trying to make ends meet and provide happy life to their family. We were inspired by the insightful words of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on community uplifting, volunteerism and service for the year. Thus, we decided to give in our own little contribution with the Kindness Fridge. It's open to all, it's completely free, and the food is from our heart, out of the love and respect we have for all persons in these sectors, in our land of residence. Persons can access the fridge with their heads held high, and can interact with our usual patrons. We would like to shed light on this so that our community members know this concept exists, and are able to access it easily when in need."
Talking about the response the initiative has garnered, Anamika said: "Our customers are overjoyed and excited about contributing for the fridges and are offering full support, while the expression on the face of the workers shows they are overwhelmed and grateful. In this heat even a bottle of water is a blessing and here we have whole meal boxes and drinks being given out to them, which light up their faces and refreshes them too."
Jamal and Sudeep from Bangladesh, who work at a construction site behind the MyGovinda's branch in Umm Suqueim, said they cannot wait to take their lunch and dinner breaks as they get to eat a fantastic meal, which they would otherwise never be able to afford.
"I come here twice a day to get fresh food that reminds me of home. It has made life easier as it takes care of our most important meals - lunch and dinner. And definitely this boosts my mood, my energy levels and of course my happiness. It is here I am able to get fruits and energy drinks free of cost, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to afford either of them. So I am really grateful to the restaurant staff and owner for thinking about us," a nostalgic Jamal told Khaleej Times.
Jamal opened the box and showed the rice, daal and vegetable neatly segregated and placed in the lunch meal box. He also flaunted his lemonade drink, a banana and an apple that he had procured from the fridge.
"It is such a blessing to get to eat fresh food and that too twice a day. I, along with a couple of my friends, come here around 4pm and get refreshed with some cool drinks like laban, lemonade, juice or cold water. We then take the meal boxes and sit nearby and eat," said Sudeep.
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