“Always lead by example” says Dubai’s ruler as his daughter takes part in the UAE Food Bank initiative.
As much as we love this country, we can’t help but feel wasteful when we look around the mounds of food left over at brunch closing time.
But luckily, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the UAE, is planning to do something about it.
The royal last week announced the launch of the UAE Food Bank, a programme which will distribute leftover produce to those in need at both a local and regional level.
It’s one of the first initiatives revealed since HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, announced the next 12 months will form the “Year of Giving”.
And who was one of the first residents to take part in the scheme? None other than Sheikha Shamma, the daughter of Sheikh Mohammed and Sheikha Hind bint Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum.
The 15-year-old was among the first group to help distribute otherwise wasted food, and her proud father shared a clip of the event on Instagram.
فخور بابنتي شما التي شاركت اليوم في أول نشاط تطوعي لبنك الامارات للطعام … مشاريع ومبادرات الامارات الانسانية تهدف الى أحداث فرق حقيقي في حياة الكثيرين Proud of my daughter Shamma who contributed today in the first volunteering activity as part of UAE Food Bank initiative. Our philosophy in the humanitarian work is simple .. Always lead by example.
“Proud of my daughter Shamma who contributed today in the first volunteering activity as part of UAE Food Bank initiative,” the royal captioned the video, which has been viewed more than 75,000 times.
“Our philosophy in the humanitarian work is simple .. Always lead by example.”
The young royal was interviewed in the clip, where she thanked “my father and mother for this initiative”.
“I am glad to conduct this charity act along with my friends,” said Sheikha Shamma.
So, what is the UAE Food Bank?
Well, it’s a non-profit organisation that will work with “hotels and restaurants, food-manufacturing companies and supermarkets and introduce a process of preserving, storing and packaging the food, with the goal to optimise usage and achieve zero waste,” according to a statement on Dubai Media Office.
“Volunteers will be invited to collect surplus food from the appointed authorities, and distribute it to those in need, in and outside the UAE.”
And just days after the idea was announced, a whopping 85 hotels and 100 supermarkets signed agreements to take part, including Majid Al Futtaim Group, Carrefour and Choithrams.
The headquarters are based at Dubai Vegetable Market in Al Aweer, and the initial aim is to distribute 30,000 meals to those in need in the local area.
When it comes to the future, the UAE Food Bank plans to have 15 branches within the next three years, to help tackle the Dhs13 billion worth of food wasted in the UAE every year.
The long-term aim is to make Dubai the first city in the region to achieve zero food waste.
“The Year of Giving provides a golden opportunity for UAE citizens and institutions to maximise their philanthropic potential by launching humanitarian initiatives,” said Sheikh Mohammed when the organisation was launched.
“We chose ‘food’ as our first initiative as it is one of the most basic human needs. Through the UAE Food Bank, we aim to instill the value of giving deep in the hearts of our people.”
The programme will adhere to international food safety guidelines, and volunteers will be trained on the health and safety standards.
Can you volunteer? At some point, but no information has yet been released about how to sign up (but we’ll keep you updated).
“Emiratis are the most generous and giving people. Through the UAE Food Bank, we are creating a sustainable institutional framework inspired by these values, and by the legacy of UAE Founding Father Sheikh Zayed,” said Sheikh Mohammed.
“The UAE Food Bank seeks to immortalise these values in future generations by engaging community-based volunteers and organizations so that the spirit of philanthropy spreads beyond the borders of the UAE as the Year of Giving unfolds.”
Image: HH Sheikh Mohammed/Instagram