Spurred on by the sense of community it created last year, Flowline Specialists’ group operations manager Graeme Chalmers and his family have once again rolled up their sleeves to help provide Iftar meals to nearly 3,000 labourers in Dubai.
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims across the world observe a daily daytime fast that sees them refrain from consuming food and drinking any liquid from dawn until sunset. Iftar is the evening meal that Muslims enjoy at sunset to break their daily fast and is often eaten as a community, with family, friends and colleagues gathering to eat together. Dining as a group comes from the belief of many Muslims that feeding others is a form of charity in itself.
Each year, businesses and community groups across the region distribute Iftar meals to labourers and others as a gesture of goodwill. Last year, through their children’s school, Graeme, who leads our Dubai-based Middle East division, and his wife Lisa heard about one such project organised by local catering company Classic Catering.
Inspired by its generosity and the community spirit and friendship it created amongst the volunteers, Graeme and his family chose to once again lend a hand this year. Flowline Specialists FZE also donated meals for 190 people as part of the initiative.
Volunteers packing up the meals for distribution
Alongside approximately 50 other volunteers, Graeme, Lisa and their two children, Caitlin and Ryan, spent the afternoon of Wednesday, 06 June prepping and packing 2,800 meals. Each meal consisted of traditional fare, including a bag of dates, a hot chicken biryani, an energy drink, a dessert and a bottle of water.
In the evening, the volunteers set-up a distribution point at an accommodation complex in Dubai Investment Park to hand out the meals. Within minutes a long and winding queue of weary workers returning from a day’s hard graft had formed, with demand ultimately outstripping supply. All were extremely grateful to receive one of the meals and for the kindness that everyone had shown them.
Graeme said: “It is a great initiative that brings people together and creates a real sense of community spirit. The afternoon was once again rather manic as everyone worked together to prep all the meals in time, but the hard work was worth it when you saw the beaming smiles of all the labourers at the accommodation complex who received the meals. We’re all really happy to have been involved again this year.”
The queue of workers collecting their Iftar meals
All of the meals provided by Classic Catering as part of the Iftar initiative are funded by local companies. This year, the firm aims to provide 50,000 Iftar meals during Ramadan and is one of a number of businesses running similar programmes. Since 2014, Classic Catering, which is run by chef Bobby Kapoor, has been handing out Iftar meals to less fortunate people. During Ramadan in 2017, it distributed 37,775 meals, a figure it has already surpassed this year.