(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM))
DUBAI, 3rd June, 2021 (WAM) -- The UAE Food Bank announced that it has distributed 27,362 tonnes of food to various beneficiaries between its establishment in 2017 and the end of 2020.
Launched as a charitable initiative to distribute surplus food to those in need, the UAE Food Bank also signed 112 agreements and MoUs with local partners in the country and other food banks and establishments in the region to facilitate the safe distribution of surplus food.
As part of the initiative, a total of six branches were set up across the country. The number of branches is expected to grow to cover all the emirates.
Dawoud Al Hajri, Director General of Dubai Municipality and Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the UAE Food Bank, said: "We are working to implement the directives of H.H. Sheikha Hind bint Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum, wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the UAE Food Bank, to reduce food wastage by distributing excess food to beneficiaries through our various channels in cooperation with charitable institutions."
Out of the total 27,362 tonnes of food distributed to beneficiaries, 9,086 tonnes were distributed during 2020 alone. The UAE Food Bank currently has three branches in Dubai and one branch each in Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah. A total of 144 fridges have been allocated for the collection of surplus food distributed across different regions in the UAE, including 84 in Dubai.
Al Hajri explained that the surplus food is transported on sterilised vehicles. Most of the food shipments are donated directly to the UAE Food Bank branches. The Bank's activity can extend beyond the UAE, Al Hajri said, noting that food parcels were recently sent to other fraternal countries.
Launched under the umbrella of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, the UAE Food Bank distributes food in cooperation with UAE-based charitable institutions as well as directly to labour accommodations. As part of the precautionary measures taken during the COVID-19 pandemic, meals are being delivered to supervisors of labour accommodations so that it can then be distributed to beneficiaries.
Al Hajri said employees at the Food Bank monitor the food items to ensure they meet health and safety guidelines across all stages of collection, storage and distribution.
The UAE Food Bank operates as part of an integrated system that guarantees the cooperation and participation of all stakeholders, including donors, supervisory bodies, humanitarian and voluntary associations, as well as coordinating bodies in order to ensure the Bank can achieve its objectives according to the highest levels of efficiency, Al Hajri added. The Bank has established partnerships with restaurants, hotels, supermarkets, food factories, farms, caterers and suppliers.
Dubai Municipality provides establishments and entities in the hospitality and food industry with a guide that explains food safety and hygiene practices that must be followed when donating meals to the Bank.
The Food Bank has conducted 127 awareness and educational initiatives on reducing food wastage and benefiting from surplus food.
It has also conducted several workshops at schools and entities across the emirate and organised sessions to train volunteers on how to package and preserve food as per specific guidelines and distribute meals to beneficiaries inside and outside the country.
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