DUBAI – Three years ago, when Australian expat Sumayyah Sayed put a fridge stocked with free food and water on her front porch in Ramadan, it was certainly beyond her imagination that this would turn into a big giant community project.
Today, more than 27,000 have joined the campaign to help the poor during the holy fasting month.
“This year, 30 fridges are listed already to start on the first day of Ramadan and the numbers would keep increasing every day till the start of Ramadan,” Sumayyah told Khaleej Times.
The initiative grew organically during last Ramadan and is back to help the needy this summer.
It seeks to engage more donors to help the needy during Ramadan by donating packed food, water, and fresh fruit.
Growing from only 5,000 members on their Facebook page in 2016, there is constant interaction on Social Media with residents sponsoring a new fridge, a shout out for donating more food and help for creating a buzz.
“The concept of sharing food has always been around in Emirati culture and in this part of the world,” Sumayyah said.
“The initiation of putting a fridge outside to increase accessibility of basic things such as food and drinks took this culture to the next level and brought the larger community together at a time when the world was falling apart.”
Residents interested in lending a helping hand to the cause can either open a fridge in their community or help in filling an existing one.
“We share an updated list of fridge locations, marked on Google maps daily on our social media,” she added.
“Residents should ensure that there is no fridge in their vicinity. If there is, we advise them to team up to support and manage that fridge. Better a few full fridges in a community that plenty empty!”
The initiative is spread across Dubai in areas like Jebel Ali, Marina, Sports City, Umm Suqueim, Jumeirah, Al Barsha, Meydan, and Midriff.
Ramadan is the holiest month in Islamic calendar. It is expected to start this year on Wednesday, May 16.
In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.
Muslims dedicate their time during the holy month to become closer to Allah through prayer, self-restraint, and good deeds.