x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Lean times for UAE charity feeding labourers

A group hoping to feed hungry labourers this Ramadan has missed their target by almost 50,000 meals.

Labourers wait in a queue to collect food packets distributed by Karama Kitchens, a project of Volunteer in UAE, at Al Mana camps in Al Quoz area of Dubai yesterday. Satish Kumar / The National
Labourers wait in a queue to collect food packets distributed by Karama Kitchens, a project of Volunteer in UAE, at Al Mana camps in Al Quoz area of Dubai yesterday. Satish Kumar / The National

DUBAI // A project that collected 38,000 meals for labourers last Ramadan has only managed 3,000 so far this year.

The Karama Kitchens, a project of Volunteer in UAE, had hoped to distribute food parcels to 52,000 labourers in Al Quoz, Jebel Ali, Sonapur and Dubai Investment Park this year.

"We are way off the mark," said Toufic Nader, of Volunteer in UAE.

Mr Nader said several companies that were involved last year would not take part this holy month.

"Some say they don't have it in their budget while others said it was too late or they're simply not interested," he said.

The Karama Kitchens packs up meals of chicken biriyani, dates, laban and a dessert, which are delivered to labourers for iftar.

It costs Dh32 to buy two meals on the website and companies can buy packages.

"The quality is very good and we are providing very safe, hygienic food that is cooked and then stored in special containers so it is delivered hot," said Mr Nader.

People and companies who get involved are encouraged to go to the camps to hand out meals.

"There is no question in their mind where their money is going," Mr Nader added.

"We ask people to come down, put together the meals and hand out the food themselves. We are doing this to try to make a connection."

Lyssa Kadour, 22, bought four tokens and will be handing out eight meals.

"It's the first year I'm doing it," said the graphic designer who is of Ukrainian and Algerian descent.

"I've volunteered before with the Pass the Glass campaign where we handed out water to labourers who are working in the heat.

"I got a taste for it. Now, whenever there is another campaign like this, we are going to do it."

Karama Kitchens provided 38,000 meals last year but decided to raise their target after being approached by other labour camps asking for support.

"Nobody knows about these guys who are going hungry and we want to let people in the UAE know there is more to life than money," said Mr Nader.

"There are a lot people living on the edge of poverty. This is one way people can learn about it by giving back."

To buy a coupon for two meals, visit www.dealgobbler.com/volunteer-in-uae-2013.html

eharnan@thenational.ae