REACHING OUT: Yousof al-Lawadi, Manager of the Eid Social Centre, explains the activities carried out by the charitable organisation in Qatar.
By Anand Holla
With the onset of the holy month of Ramadan just days away, the Eid Charity Foundation (ECF), like several charity organisations across Qatar, has been in the thick of various benevolent activities. But for ECF, practising benevolence happens to be a continuous, year-long exercise, especially with their initiatives such as the Food Savings Bank programme.
Under this project, the ECF distributes food to economically weaker families as its members go around town and collect excess food items from company camps across Qatar and from homes, big events and functions. Based in Madinat Khalifa, the Food Savings Bank is the gathering point for food items.
Using the charity’s 11 mini vans, the programme’s members usually hand these food packets to the residents of some of the 13 densely populated areas in Qatar, where most of the residents are poor. Apart from the prepared food items, the bank sometimes also supplies dried food, meat and vegetables. Every month, the bank distributes at least 25,000 food packets among the needy.
The mission of Sheikh Eid bin Mohammad al-Thani Charitable Organisation, or Eid Charity Foundation, is to execute charitable and benevolent projects, develop volunteer work, and preserve noble values through skilled human resources, dynamic administrative systems and strategic organisation.
The Eid Social Centre, under which falls the Food Savings Bank Programme, has been establishing the principle of social solidarity within the Qatari community and tending to “the needs of the needy families in Qatar.” Community caught up with Yousof al-Lawadi, Manager of the Eid Social Centre, to know more:
What is the idea behind the Food Savings Bank Programme? How many economically weaker people have benefitted from it so far?
The idea of the Food Savings Bank project came to the fore after the charity’s council raised the subject of several people squandering food, and how the poor who are in desperate need of them can benefit if this food is routed to them. From that moment onwards, the establishment has adopted this project through one of its departments, and put together a system to guarantee its success in achieving its goals. The essence and importance of this programme is derived from holy texts.
How is this programme carried out? Please share details on how you source all this food.
Large banquets and feasts are routinely laid out in houses, halls, at meetings and at restaurants and more than half of the food made for these occasions go to waste and are doomed to meet the piles of garbage awaiting outside. The organisers of the feasts don’t know what to do with such large amounts of remnant food. Our role, therefore, is to collect the remains of these banquets and distribute them to the poor enrolled in the social centre. Once a donor contacts us, our cars reach the location to first determine what is good of the remaining food that he wants to hand over to us – only the good food makes the cut. Then we package the chosen food as meals and distribute it to the poor. However, this is not the only thing we wanted to do in the project. So there are those who donate all types of food materials such as rice, oil, sugar or meat, and we distribute those too by following the same procedure.
So what are the various stages of this process?
The stages of our activities can be summarised thus. The first stage involves receiving the call of the donor. The second is to send cars to bring good food. The third is to package and distribute food to those in need.
What is the most challenging part about this programme?
We need 10 more vehicles to offer these services optimally. Currently, we have limited vehicles for receiving food from donors. Every donor calls around the same time, which is usually between 8pm to 10pm, and we don’t have enough vehicles to collect food from donors.
What other initiative is the Eid Charity Foundation working on?
Currently, we are trying to reach all the needy people who live in Qatar through various ways. We are doing our best to provide them support.
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