Ramadan in UAE: Free Iftar boxes distributed by volunteers offer 'relief' to motorists

"This box makes them leave their worries behind," a resident says


SM Ayaz Zakir

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Top Stories

Photos: SM Ayaz Zakir
Photos: SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Fri 31 Mar 2023, 7:55 AM

Last updated: Fri 31 Mar 2023, 1:57 PM

At 5.30 pm, Kashif Hassan Butt, a British National, leaves behind all his work and ensures he is at the traffic signal in Barsha or Al Quoz to volunteer for a noble cause. His colleagues and him along with a few policemen knock on the windows of vehicles stopping at the traffic signals and hand over a box containing food items to the driver and passengers.

“People who are making their way home or are on the move are worried about breaking their fast. So this box makes them leave their worries behind and brings much relief to the daily commuters who usually rush home to break their fast on time,” said Butt.

This campaign is an initiative by Aster Pharmacy, in collaboration with Aster volunteers and Dubai police, where food packages are distributed to people stuck in traffic while breaking the fast daily.

Kashif Hassan Butt
Kashif Hassan Butt

Butt works as a senior territory manager in retail at Aster Pharmacy and considers himself privileged to be involved in charity and giving. “I am honoured as an Aster volunteer to fulfil this cause. After a long day's work focusing on improving the health and well-being of our pharmacy customers, spending quality time in the evening serving the local community is rewarding and satisfying,” said butt.

“Distributing Iftar food kits to local commuters rushing home, seeing the smiles on their faces and the gratitude they show for being able to open their fast on time makes this worthwhile,” said Butt.

Sajani Hamza
Sajani Hamza

Another volunteer, Sajani Hamza, head of international communication at the UAE National Olympic Committee, is extremely proud to be part of this noble initiative. “I am happy to dedicate my time and effort to this meaningful cause and help those in need,” said Hamza.

“This initiative is a great example of how we can come together during Ramadan and make a real difference in our community," added Hamza.

Nearly 300 volunteers are involved in a daily initiative of Iftar Food Kit Distribution at 17 locations across four emirates- Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, and Ajman.

In Dubai, as many as three thousand food packets are distributed at roundabouts and intersections. As many as five hundred kits are being distributed in Ajman, 300 packages at Deqdaqa Police Station in Ras Al Khaimah, and 100 at ADNOC petrol pump in Sharjah.

Mohammed Amir, driving from Lisaili to Ajman, stopped at the petrol station to refill his fuel tank. As he was refilling, he received the Iftar box. “I am very thankful to them. When I got the box, I thought it was a complimentary box for fuelling. But later, I noticed that people were distributing food for Iftar.”

Hani Abu Saleem, another commuter working at a government authority, was driving from Sharjah to Kalba and stopped at the petrol station to refuel at around 5.30pm. “I came to Sharjah for some work and had to reach Kalba in the next one and a half hours. I was worried about my Iftar. But this box is a relief for me."

The campaign will deliver 117,000 Iftar boxes for 30 days, with 3,900 food boxes being given each day. Aster volunteers prepare the boxes at their facility. The box offers a packet of dates, a cookie, water, a cake, and drinks.

N S Balasubramanian, Chief Executive Officer - Aster Retail said they are delighted to participate every year. “The number of kits we distribute this year is more than in previous years. People working in our pharmacy and other departments, along with Aster volunteers, come forward for this initiative.”

“Many people who receive kits are happy as they come late from work as it is very convenient for the public to break their fast. It is for anyone and everyone at the points where our people are distributing,” added Balasubramanian.


More news from Ramadan 2023