Ramadan is well under way and for those enduring the daylong hours of fasting, it's comforting to have a fetar feast to look forward to. However, the harsh reality is that for many in our country, there is no reprieve to the hunger. An estimated 35% of Egyptians live below the poverty line and earn less than US$1 a day, according to the latest statistics by the Al Ahram Centre for Politcal and Strategic Studies. Although we come across the needy every day in Cairo, this staggering statistic and the faces behind it are all too easily forgotten. Sure, there are many initiatives all over Cairo to feed the poor and hungry during Ramadan, but what about the rest of the year? Thanks to the work of the Egyptian Food Bank, Egypt’s impoverished and malnourished may have a brighter future.
In 1994, a group of corporate leaders joined forces to launch the Egyptian Food Bank as a means to connect excess food supplies with the poor and hungry of Egypt. The private sector charity gathers and delivers food to the less fortunate with the goal to end hunger in Egypt. Over the years, this benevolent organization has gained support from the local community and is strengthened by the contributions of individuals and corporations alike.
The bank’s main base in the Cairo suburb of Mokattam collects canned, dried and frozen foods. Volunteers work to compile the donations and create individual meals to be delivered to the program’s recipients. Frozen and raw meals are distributed seven days a week in this unrelenting effort to end hunger.
The Egyptian Food Bank survives on donations to fund its operations from food and packaging to the transportation of the meals. A number of corporations have participated in helping or donating to the organisation, including some of the biggest hotel chains in Egypt. Hotels that host weddings and large events are guilty of massive food waste. The Egyptian Food Bank has proposed a way to curb the waste while giving back to the community. Leftover food that is deemed suitable is safely packaged by trained staff and delivered hot to the program’s beneficiaries.
The Egyptian Food Bank maintains that the families assisted by the bank’s program are receiving consistent care. Food is distributed on a continual monthly basis in the specified amount needed for each household. The bank determines its recipients by their inability to provide themselves with nourishment due to extreme poverty. Families are also provided with nutrition information and education to help them become self-sufficient in the future.
The founders of the Egyptian Food Bank certainly have a long way to go in their fight against hunger in Egypt, though they are making significant strides. The bank now has five branches throughout Egypt and recent reports claim that an impressive 60 million meals– each including proteins and carbohydrates– are provided every month by the organisation.
If you’ve been searching for a way to give back to the community this Ramadan, the Egyptian Food Bank has many ways to contribute. Of course, they are not limited to distributing food during the holy month; so if you wish to help at any time of the year, donations go a long way towards ending hunger here in Egypt .Check out their website at www.egyptianfoodbank.com, where you can make credit card donations and learn about more ways to contribute. Or visit Misr Bank, Arab African International Bank, National Societe General Bank, Commercial International Bank, National Bank of Egypt, or the Faisal Islamic Bank to make cash donations to the Egyptian Food Bank account.