Ramadan in UAE: 1.3 million meals donated from surplus food in one week

Unused foods from hotels, restaurants and supermarkets were delivered to underprivileged families across the country


Sherouk Zakaria

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Photo by Shihab
Photo by Shihab

Published: Thu 21 Apr 2022, 4:21 PM

Last updated: Thu 21 Apr 2022, 5:49 PM

A total of 1.3 million meals have been secured to the needy from surplus food in the UAE, exceeding the target of ‘1 Million Saved Meals’ Ramadan campaign in just one week.

Launched by the UAE Food Bank under the massive ‘1 Billion Meals’ campaign, the ‘1 Million Saved Meals’ initiative recycles unused food from hotels, food establishments, supermarkets, vegetable and fruit markets and delivers it to underprivileged families and labourers across the country.

Officials said the initiative is expected to provide two million meals to low-income individuals and families in the UAE by the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

While the target was to secure 33,000 meals a day, Dr Issam Sharaf Al Hashmi, head of Food Trade Control Section at Dubai Municipality, said the campaign has seen the preparation and distribution of 70,000 meals daily across labour camps and underserved areas in cooperation with different partners.

“We have intensified efforts this Ramadan to reach as many beneficiaries as possible,” said Al Hashmi, noting that the campaign reduces food waste while providing food aid for people in need.

“Instead of going to landfills, the extra food from markets is repurposed and distributed to families and low-income individuals.”

Parcels of food supplies donated from fruits and vegetables market, groceries and supermarkets made up 80 percent of the food distributed. Al Hashmi said 800,000 meals have been secured from grocery kits, which provide 80 meals each.

Meals from hotels and restaurants made up 11 percent of the campaign’s total so far, while hot meals from partners made up nine percent.

The initiative has attracted over 200 partnering food establishments, supermarkets and hotels who are donating the surplus food to the UAE Food Bank, which, in return, distributes the meals through charity organizations and government entities.

The food undergoes tight inspections before distribution.

The ‘1 Million Saved Meals’ campaign is driven by the vision to beat hunger and achieve ‘zero’ food waste.

Four sub-initiatives

The ‘1 Million Saved Meals’ distribute meals through four sub-initiatives: The Conscious Kitchens Initiative, the Hotel Ramadan Buffet Initiative, the Ramadan Basket of Fruits and Vegetables, and the Ramadan Meer Initiative.

> The Conscious Kitchens initiative sees surplus food collected from groceries, supermarkets and factories, cooked in private catering companies and distributed as meals to labour camps and low-income areas in the UAE.

> The Hotel Ramadan Buffet initiative collects food surplus fit for consumption from iftar buffets, packs it into meals and delivers it to beneficiaries.

> The Ramadan Meer initiative collects basic foodstuffs from cooperative societies, supermarkets and retail stores and delivers them to the UAE Food Bank’s warehouses where they are packed into parcels containing ingredients required to prepare a nutritious meal and then distributed to beneficiaries.

> The Ramadan Basket of Fruits and Vegetables collects surplus fruits and vegetables from the market, stack them into baskets and distribute them to underprivileged individuals and families, along with canned and ready-to-make grocery kits.


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