For many, holidays and special occasions are all about cheer and enjoyment.
But, when it comes to celebrations, this group often goes for a different way - to help persons in need to get food. For Food Heroes of Wa'hab initiative, celebration means feeding persons in need by finding surplus food from eateries and companies and getting donations.
Since its inception in 2017, Wa'hab has been active as its volunteers distribute food for underprivileged people across Qatar. “Our Food Heroes go to places like labour camps across Qatar and give them food and food kits. Surplus food is collected in order to bring down the food waste and help persons in need to get food," Mohamed Kamal Sikander, one of the Food Heroes.
Surplus food is collected from Hamad International Airport (HIA), hotels, restaurants, functions and food festivals. “Our volunteers approach companies, institutions and organisations while introducing our mission. They, in turn, contact us when excess food is available. The food is packed by volunteers who take it to various areas," Kamal said.
During the last two editions of Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF), volunteers approached stalls asking them whether they had surplus food, collected surplus food daily and delivered it to the needy. During the latest QIFF event, an exclusive area was set up by Food Heroes for food collection and packing.
Lutfi Khan Kakkar, another volunteer, said Wa'hab has developed a well set up network of volunteers who reach the benefactors and beneficiaries. More than 150 volunteers are working with Wa'hab while focusing on Industrial Area and labour camps at Al Khor, Abu Nakhla and Umm Slal Ali.
Lutfi said the volunteers could help hundreds during Covid-19 pandemic and Ramadan. Food Heroes take food once they get notified about excess food. And they drive to the focused areas in their own vehicles even as special vehicles are arranged if food is available in huge quantity, and if it needs special care.
A total of 3,886 meals were distributed during Ramadan and on Eid days, to those in need. Kamal said the daily distribution reached 200 kits during Covid-19. As many as 17 tonnes of frozen vegetables were redistributed to the community, among which taxi drivers were given priority after they were found to be hit hard by the pandemic.
The distribution was carried while the volunteers adhered to safety measures. Qatar Red Crescent Society also lent a helping hand while organising training sessions for Food Heroes on how to stay safe while helping others during the pandemic.
“The initial idea was to reduce food waste and it has turned out to be an initiative that helps many get food," said one of the Food Heroes Mohamed Zubairullah Khan.
Taking a cue from the good response the initiative has been evoking, Wa'hab is now set to introduce smartbin, which is the smartest way to compost food waste without the associated hassles. As per the plan, waste will be composted as fertiliser that can be used for homestead farming.