x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Ramadan food handout begins

Some 45,000 families that include 300,000 people will receive supplies from the Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation.

ABU DHABI // More than 15,000 tonnes of food will be distributed to 45,000 needy families before Ramadan. The project, a collaboration between the Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation and the Ministry of Social Affairs, has been described as the largest of its kind in the UAE, with organisers expecting to reach more than 300,000 people. For the past few months, the foundation has been preparing for the project, which will give out the food over the next two weeks for families to use during Ramadan, which starts next month. The first families received their food packages on Sunday.

"This is the second year that we are providing such food to the needy," said Mohammed al Khouri, the executive director of the foundation. "It is really just to help people, and it is something we usually do in the summertime. It is for the people who are in need of basic items like food." The families receiving aid are registered with the Ministry of Social Affairs, which determined they qualified for support. They include both Emiratis and expatriates, according to Mr al Khouri.

The food will be handed out at 26 distribution points across the country, with several centres in each emirate. Non-perishable, staple foods are being handed out, including rice, sugar, flour, tea, dates, pasta, powdered milk, and the basic ingredients for traditional Emirati Ramadan dishes, such as harees. This year, the foundation is also providing free home delivery. The total cost of the project, financed by the foundation, has not been disclosed.

According to Mr al Khouri, the main idea is to help with basic needs ahead of the holy month, when families traditionally stock up for Iftar meals. The organisation is expected to initiate other Ramadan-related projects in the coming weeks, both in the UAE and abroad. The foundation was formally established by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, the President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, in 2007 and began financing and implementing projects last year.

zconstantine@thenational.ae