The food packets being readied by PAD for delivery among the less fortunate members of society in the UAE.
Jamil Khan, Senior Reporter
The true meaning of the Holy Month of Ramadan to share among the less fortunate members of the Pakistani diaspora in the UAE has not been forgotten by the social arm of the community. The Pakistan Association Dubai is distributing food packages among the underprivileged members of the community who have been affected by the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. So far 1,500 food packages, enough for a 4-5-member family for one month, have been distributed across all nationalities and emirates as part of the food drive.
Mohsin Al Banna, General Secretary, PAD, told Gulf Today, “In these difficult times, Pakistan Association Dubai is doing its share to support the UAE national initiatives and has reached out to people of all nationalities. This pandemic has brought all communities closer and we will defeat it together,” he added.
He also appreciated the Community Development Authority and the UAE leadership for facilitating and ensuring that every UAE resident is taken care of.
The PAD drive started in mid-March and there was a major step up in this as the movement restrictions were put in place during the month of April due to the COVID-19.
“The campaign has gained momentum in the last ten days and the food packages are distributed in Dubai and its neighbouring emirates. The food drive is supported by the community and the volunteers who have gone above and beyond to give their services, contributions and time towards a noble cause.”
He pointed out that the food packages contain essential dry food items for a small family for about a month. It contains flour, rice, cooking oil, milk powder, three types of lentils, tea powder, salt, sugar, dates and instant drinks like Rooh Afza.
Dr. Faisel Ikram, President, PAD who is currently volunteering his services at a COVID centre, in Dubai said, “All this has been possible through the support from the community and the assistance of our passionate volunteers who believe in our mantra of giving.
“The local authorities have played a tremendous role in alleviating the fears and concerns of the citizens. The consulate has also played an integral role in providing food packages to the needy within the Pakistani community,” asserted Dr. Ikram.
Rizwan Fancy, director, welfare at PAD, commented, “We are overwhelmed with calls every 15 minutes, receiving countless requests for food packages from across all emirates and we are doing our best to reach out to each one of them personally. Even as we speak over 3,000 food packages have been dispatched.”
“We have no borders or barriers in this time of need, we do not differentiate between a Pakistani and a non-Pakistani, we ensure the person is needy and is a deserving candidate. Our teams have delivered the essential items in all areas of Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, and Khorfakkan,” noted Fancy who plans to send his teams to Umm Al Quwain, Al Ain and Ras Al Khaimah this week.
PAD has not announced its campaign for food packages on social media but it has been receiving requests through WhatsApp groups and Facebook messages. The food packages are given to those who are on visit visas and are stranded, there are some who haven’t received their salaries, have lost their jobs due to the corona crisis, or were freelancers and have no source of income due to the lockdown.
“We have been inundated with requests from diverse nationalities such as Indians, Sri Lankans, Filipinos, Bengalis, Kenyans, Nigerians and people from the Levant region. PAD takes pride in serving the community at large and following the principles of tolerance and social cohesion,” added Fancy, who is personally monitoring the entire process of the food campaign from packaging to deliveries.
“The objective of the drive is to play our our part in reducing the impact that COVID-19 crisis has caused to the livelihood of many people in UAE. We are going across to all communities as the drive is not limited only to the Pakistani community. With dry food we are also trying to limit the wastage that is sometimes unavoidable with the cooked meals. Also, our intention is to provide maximum value as recipients can prepare as per their own taste and liking,” said Al Banna.
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