By Gavin Gibbon
Up to 400 low-income workers and families benefit daily from UAE Food Bank
The UAE Food Bank is delivering 500kg of food to needy recipients every day across its six branches in the country.
Issa Hassan Issa, food health inspector officer, UAE Food Bank, said up to 400 people daily are benefiting from the food bank, which was launched in January 2017 and has reduced the amount of waste going to Dubai Municipality from around 85 percent to just three percent.
Issa told Arabian Business: “Since we have companies shut down, labourers are suffering and we’re talking about hundreds of labourers, who have no food or people taking care of them. The food we are getting from different entities is getting transferred to them and at least there are people benefitting from this food that used to go to the garbage.”
There are currently three food banks in Dubai; in Al Quoz, Al Muhaisnah-2 and Al Bada’a, with further banks in Umm Al Quwaim, Ras Al Khaimah and Ajman.
Issa revealed plans to open two more branches in Abu Dhabi and Fujairah this year. “Hopefully we will cover all seven emirates by the end of this year,” he said.
Up until mid-August last year, the food bank had distributed a total of 12,445 tonnes of food for 2019, five times more than the entire distribution for 2018 (2,646 tonnes).
The UAE Food Bank is currently working with a number of supermarket and hypermarkets, including Spinneys, LuLu and Choithrams, among others.
But Issa is looking to expand this network in the future, with agreements signed with several hotel operators. He said: “We are doing partnerships and trying to get as much as we can. If we get the big restaurants and hotels, hopefully the smaller ones will follow.
“The team is working to increase it. If we have 30, this year we would like to make it 60.”
The UAE Food Bank is also trying to raise awareness of the fridges it operates throughout Dubai. Currently there are around 80 fridges located in neighbourhoods next to mosques.
Issa explained: “We try somehow to pass the awareness to the people and encourage them, if they have anything left over, do not just throw it away, put it on a nice plate and put it in one of these fridges. Maybe if there are some labourers passing, they can use it.
“There are some who cannot afford AED20 or AED50 for a lunch or dinner because they are suffering, they don’t have the money, especially the labourers and the workers.”