Ramadan in UAE: How residents can donate their leftover food instead of throwing it away

UAE Food Bank aims to provide 3 million meals and food parcels to disadvantaged individuals and families this holy month


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Sun 2 Apr 2023, 1:08 PM

Last updated: Sun 2 Apr 2023, 6:47 PM

Food wastage typically peaks during the holy month of Ramadan in the UAE. With many people unaware of what to do with their leftover food, it often ends up in the dust bin. Donating all that surplus food, however, is just a click or call away.

The UAE Food Bank encourages residents to use the excess fresh food to feed the needy instead of throwing it away.

“During Ramadan, unfortunately, the food waste is higher compared to other months. Residents can contribute surplus or food waste through multiple channels which is distributed to deserving people within and outside the country,” said Manal bint Yaarouf, Chairperson of the UAE Food Bank Steering Committee.

The UAE residents can donate by calling 8009999, sending an email to uaefoodbank@dm.gov.ae and the contacting the Bank through its social media channels.

“The call centre number 8009999 is only during the holy month of Ramadan but the email works throughout the year,” said Manal.

She added that there is no limit to how much people can donate to the food bank with regard to surplus or waste food.

Ensuring hygiene

“We focus on a big quantity of meals from hotels, restaurants and donations. We encourage people also to donate surplus food. They can put it in fridges of Dubai Municipality in different mosques, but they need to ensure that it meets Dubai Municipality’s safety instructions and guidelines.”

In order to ensure that the food is hygienic and safe for consumption, Manal said, the Food Safety Department of Dubai Municipality inspects the food regularly.

“The Dubai Municipality team has a daily schedule for visiting either companies that are donating food or Food Bank locations to check on all the food to make sure that it’s safe for the people,” she added.

Launched with a mission to plan, manage and deliver surplus food to beneficiaries locally and globally, the bank works in cooperation with a big number of partners and volunteers, who play their part in the transportation of the meals.

From 2017 until the end of 2022, the UAE Food Bank distributed more than 50 million meals. During Ramadan 2022, it distributed more than two million meals. The food was sent to the Philippines and Senegal as well in 2022.

2023 target

This year, the food was sent to earthquake-hit people across Syria and Turkey before and during Ramadan in coordination with the Emirates Red Crescent.

Manal said, this Ramadan, the bank is targeting to achieve more than two million food donations and over one million surplus cooked food in collaboration with restaurants and hotels.

“That's why we have arrangements with some private companies such as restaurants and hotels with regard to surplus food. We will redistribute it to beneficiaries, but whatever is left over, we have a contract with three companies to recycle it to reduce food waste. This is very helpful as it reduced the amount of food that goes to landfill,” said Manal.

Some of the hotels that contribute to the UAE Food Bank include The Address, Millennium, Sofitel, Grand Hyatt, Al Habtoor and Hilton. While recycling partners are Reloop, Averda and Tadweer. The other partners are Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department, Dubai Police, the Roads and Transport Authority, charities and the UAE food loss and waste initiative Ne’ma.

In addition, traders from the food and vegetable markets also contribute towards this charity initiative.


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