Dubai: The UAE Food Bank on Monday opened its second branch on World Food Day after the pilot project facilitated donation of 136 tonnes of food items in six months.
Kick starting Dubai Municipality’s activities of the day, Hussain Nasser Lootah, the director general of Dubai Municipality and deputy chairman of the Board of Trustees of UAE Food Bank, inaugurated the facility next to the Canadian University of Dubai campus in Al Bada area. It was opened with the permanent sponsorship of Easa Al Gurg Charity Foundation, which will sponsor another Food Bank branch in Al Muhaisnah.
Lootah said almost 136 tonnes of surplus food from food businesses was donated to the needy through the first branch of the Food Bank in Al Quoz since its opening in April.
“This shows the support we have received from the food businesses. Instead of wasting surplus food, they have donated it through the Food Bank with the help of registered charities.”
With an agreement with 16 more entities — including 13 hypermarket chains and food companies and three charity groups including those from the Northern Emirates — the benefit of the Food Bank will now reach the needy in other emirates as well.
By next year, the UAE Food Bank will start supplying food items to refugee camps and poor communities in other countries, Lootah told Gulf News.
Under the umbrella of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives Foundation, he said, the Food Bank is partnering with major hotel chains, supermarkets, food factories and farms and will open its doors to volunteers to contribute to the distribution of food inside and outside the country.
In a statement issued on the occasion, Shaikha Hind Bint Maktoum Bin Juma Al Maktoum, chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the UAE Food Bank and wife of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said: “The UAE Food Bank is one of the most important values of giving by the people of the UAE and is moving forward to be one of the largest humanitarian establishments in the country, in a way that translates the objectives of the UAE leadership to spread the virtue of charity and establish a culture of giving within the framework of official and people’s participation.”
Waste zero, fight hunger
While Dubai Municipality observed the World Food Day with mass food donation to about 8,000 migrant workers and a #ZeroFoodWaste campaign in the UAE where an estimated Dh13 billion is lost due to food wastage every year, the international theme of the Day was: “Change the future of migration — Invest in food security and rural development.”
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, a large share of migrants come from rural areas where more than 75 per cent of the world’s poor and food-insecure depend on agriculture and natural resource-based livelihoods.
Most migrants, whether international or internal, originate in the Middle East and North Africa, Central Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.
In 2015, 65.3 million people around the world were forcibly displaced by conflict and persecution, including over 21 million refugees, three million asylum seekers and over 40 million IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons), the FAO said on its website.
Abdulla Al Wardat, country director, World Food Programme, GCC, said the WFP supports the UAE Food Bank’s goal of “reducing food waste to zero.”
“We look forward to further cooperation in the future partnership between WFP and the UAE Food Bank in order to eradicate hunger. We thank the Government of UAE for its continued support to the WFP,” Al Wardat stated.
Fill up the fridges initiative
Residents and food companies contributed to the “fill up the fridges” initiative of Dubai Municipality on World Food Day.
There are 100 charity fridges belonging to the UAE Food Bank placed in 80 mosques across Dubai. The municipality had urged residents to donate packaged foods through these fridges to mark the day.
Officials also urged residents to continue donating food through these fridges.
“We will be publishing the location of these fridges on the website foodsafe.ae managed by the Food Safety Department to popularise them among the residents,” said Jehaina Hassan Al Ali, acting head of awareness and applied nutrition at the Applied Nutrition Section in the Food Safety Department.
She said food establishments located close to the mosques housing the fridges will also be encouraged to donate their surplus food through the fridges.
Food firms also took part in the contest to share tips on reducing food wastage on social media and at the site of the Food Bank.
Food donation through 1st branch of UAE Food Bank since April
Total quantity of food items received: 136 tonnes
Maximum quantity of food received in a day: 10,245kg
Lowest quantity received in a day: 30kg
Average daily donation: 680kg
Highest amount of food received in a month: September (52,335kg)
Lowest amount of food received in a month: June (4,845kg)
The amount of food distributed through charities: 135,795kg
Tarahum Charity Foundation: 68,175kg
Al Ihsan Charity Association: 53,415kg
Dar Al Ber Society: 8,625kg
Bait Al Khair Society: 2,850kg
Dubai Charity Association: 2,730kg