ABU DHABI // Fundraisers are appealing for volunteers and donations to help them support labourers during Ramadan.
"I'm looking forward to this month. I tell everybody to look the labourers in the eye and wish them well in their languages, because it's not just about the meal - it's about the gesture," said Lola Lopez, founder of Volunteer in UAE, a non-profit initiative.
The organisation has run its "Karama Kanteen" project since 2008, providing free meals to labourers across the country. It has served more than half a million meals so far.
For Ramadan, Volunteer in UAE has joined forces with dealgobbler.com. The latter is selling Dh32 vouchers, each of which will provide iftar meals for two labourers.
Each meal includes 500 grams of biriyani, a small bottle of water, dates, a laban drink and a dessert.
The project is supported by volunteers, with a local five-star catering company, City Chef, preparing the meals.
Residents can also donate and volunteer through Volunteer in UAE.
But Ms Lopez had some words of caution: "If you work with a catering company, make sure they are licensed and insured to cater in bulk. If you're not working with the experienced and qualified people, it's better to go to the supermarket and buy some water and fruit and give that to someone."
Flea4Charity also hopes to raise as much as possible to provide iftar meals to labour camps in Sharjah, in recognition of "the unsung heroes that have contributed greatly towards building the UAE".
Khadra Osman, one of Flea4Charity's four founding members, said the charity had already raised about Dh5,000 for the Ramadan scheme.
She hopes to collect as much as possible through direct donations and corporate sponsorships.
"We don't actually have a specific target," Ms Osman said. "The more money we raise the more people we can feed, for more days."
The charity's iftar packs will include dates, juice, a biriyani meal, fruit and a savoury dessert.
Another charity, Adopt-a-camp, hopes to prepare at least 5,000 Ramadan care packages for labourers.
The packages will include three months worth of toiletries, food for a month and other basic items such as bedding, clothes, plates and energy drinks.
The deadline for individual or corporate donations is July 11.
To help Volunteer in UAE, Dealgobbler's vouchers can be purchased at www.dealgobbler.com/volunteer-in-uae-2013. There is no limit on how many vouchers you can purchase, which can be bought in bulk by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
To donate or volunteer for Flea4Charity's programme, visit flea4charity.wordpress.com.