MAKKAH — Tons of Hajj surplus food have been distributed among more than quarter of a million needy in Makkah.
“Our organization received excess food from a number of local Hajj companies, and this was distributed among more than 47,000 beneficiaries,” Ahmed Al-Matrafi, chairman of Ikram Welfare Society to preserve and distribute surplus food, told Saudi Gazette.
Al-Matrafi informed that there were 146.91 tons of excess food donated by a number of charity organizations and other bodies during the Hajj season.
Furthermore, he assured that all local Hajj companies promised to send to his society any surplus food they may have during the next Hajj season.
“We’re liaising with rest houses, wedding halls, hotels in the central area around the Grand Mosque, security organs and others to collect large quantities of surplus food that would otherwise go to waste,” Al-Matrafi said.
The chairman clarified that the food is distributed among the poor and needy families in Makkah within one to two hours.
It’s a fundamental teaching in Islamic Shari’ah that Hajj philanthropy donates goods and meals to needy and charity organizations; like Ikram Welfare Society which took the meals on trucks to the holy sites to distribute them among the pilgrims.
In a report published last month, the General Authority for Statistics (GaStat) in Saudi Arabia estimated that the total number of pilgrims visiting Makkah, Islam’s holiest city, in the last 25 years reached 53,928,358.
Remarkably, during the past 25 years, the number of pilgrims exceeded three million pilgrims per year only once, while their number exceeded two million pilgrims 12 times.
During the last ten years, the number of pilgrims was 23,834,151. Interestingly, the highest number of pilgrims was registered in 2011 (1433H) when 3,161,573 performed the annual pilgrimage.
On the other hand, during two seasons, their number fell below two million, with the lowest number of pilgrims recorded in 1995 (1415H) which brought 1,781,370 pilgrims.