A FOOD bank is trying to overcome challenges posed by the coronavirus (Covid19) pandemic to deliver
meals to families in need during Ramadan this year.
The Conserving Bounties Society is hoping to provide food to around 500 families as well as limit food waste as part
of its charity work during the Holy Month.
The initiative, launched in 2014, is a year-round project but Ramadan tends to be the society’s busiest time, made all the more challenging this year due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.
While previously the society’s volunteers would cook the food together, package it and distribute it to families registered with them, they can no longer do that due to Covid-19.
Instead, they are focusing on collecting donations and leftovers which are then distributed to the families.
While there have been fewer events to collect leftover food from this year, society chief executive Ahmed Al
Kuwaiti told the GDN that they have two plans to make up for it.
“The first is to collect leftover food but this has been difficult this Ramadan due to a lack of events,” he said.
“We do get a few calls about excess food in homes or at small events and go to collect it, box it and distribute it to the families in need that are registered with us.
“The second plan features projects to provide people who are fasting with Ramadan baskets which are pre-packed.”
The society has partnered with restaurants, fast food outlets and a food delivery service to help provide meals and Ramadan baskets to people in need.
Mr Al Kuwaiti pointed out that the society volunteers take all necessary safety precautions against Covid-19 when they receive and distribute food.
“This year we are hoping to form partnerships with large food companies in Bahrain to get dried foodstuff as they are often left unconsumed until they spoil and are thrown away,” said Mr Al Kuwaiti.
Another major part of the society’s work is to limit food waste which is being addressed through awareness campaigns.
The GDN reported previously that 50 per cent of the hundreds of thousands of tonnes of rubbish being dumped into the Askar landfill annually is food waste.
Around 250,000 tonnes of leftovers are thrown out annually, making Bahrain the top Arab country in food wastage and the fourth in the world, according to a UN Environment Programme 2021 study.
“We are planning to launch an awareness campaign with the Supreme Council for Environment to limit food waste,” said Mr Al Kuwaiti.
“The issue is with the mindset people have in Bahrain, that they should have more rather than less, which is a problem
especially during Ramadan.
“We encourage people to not buy more than they need. They should buy and cook a reasonable amount of food, and if there are leftovers they can reach out to us.”
Since the start of the pandemic last year, the society has provided food security for 4,000 citizens, 500 families and 2,000 expatriates.