A fridge feeds at least 100 people a day. Currently there are 70 fridges. That’s 7,000 people a day (210,000 a month)…
One of the Dubai community’s most wonderful initiatives is back… Remember the free food fridges dotted all over the city last year? Volunteers set them up outside their homes/office buildings, and then the city collectively filled them with food so that the area’s workers, gardeners and, well, anyone, can take snacks, free of charge. The fridges were particularly popular in the residential areas of the city – they are stocked up to 15 times a day and each fridge feeds at least 100 people every single day.
Well, the Ramadan Sharing Fridges are back this Ramadan (and bigger than ever – with more than 70 fridges already open and more popping up every day).
Here’s a map of all the fridges:
And note that Ramadan Sharing Fridges is a charity registered with the government, so it’s all above board.
So how can you help, what should you bring and what has the reception been like? We spoke to the initiative’s founders Anne and Summayah to find out more…
Are there more fridges in the city this year than they were last year?
Last year the initiative started with just a few fridges, and reached 170 fridges across the UAE by the end of Ramadan. This year, two days into Ramadan 2017, we already had over 70 fridges in Dubai.
The count grows every day. Ultimately it’s not about the total amount of fridges, but about being able to sustain supply in these fridges.
What are some of the nicest stories you’ve heard while running the initiative?
Some of our fridge managers are coming back from last year, they had workers coming to their doors in the weeks prior to Ramadan to ask with a huge smile whether they could again have access to their fridge.
Anne: One gardener in a residential area said that in the 20 years he was part of that community he never had so many chances to talk to the residents than when he came to the fridge
Sumayyah: The smiles! Waving over to them from across the road to come to the fridge – it probably makes fridge managers happier than the community workers to do what we do!
What kind of food should people donate? Are there any food or drink items that are particularly in demand?
Laban, fruit juices, water, soda, fruits and vegetables, biscuits, tinned food… all of these are highly popular. Please note that we are not accepting any hot/prepared food in our fridges. Rule of thumb: if it’s good enough for your fridge, it’s good enough for sharing fridges.
Here’s a little video we did about the Sharing Fridges initiative last year to give you a better idea…
Which are the fridges where you see the most demand? Maybe we can encourage people to donate there…
Each and every fridge caters for a lot of workers. Whether they are located in an industrial area, a residential area or near a construction site, they are all very much in demand so we would highly recommend finding any fridge closest to you and fill it up.
Is there a particular time of day when people should drop off?
Anytime! Food and drinks run out fast we typically fill a fridge 10 to 15 times a day. Fridge managers are incredibly welcoming and will appreciate any amount – large or small.
How do I set up a fridge if I want to do so?
It is pretty straightforward, put a fridge in an accessible area within your premises (we put ours in our garage or patios), reach out to us on the FB group and we will send you tips on how to run the fridge. You may need approval from your building management if in an apartment,
Besides setting up a fridge or donating? Are they any other areas where you need assistance?
The success of the initiative relies so much on individual donations. This is were we need all the help we can have. You can also talk to your school or company to organise volunteering with a fridge manager.
We could definitely use help with moving goods around that have been donated to us by generous sponsors.
Even a smile and a nod of acknowledgment to your community workers is giving and generous – and it’s free!
How many people do you think you’ll feed this year if you had to guess?
Per fridge, we feed about 100 workers per day – some fridges feed double or triple that number. Difficult to put a number but I guess a lot. Beyond feeding people we hope that the Ramadan Fridge initiative will promote a sense of community and bring us all closer together. We also hope – and we see a lot of school involved this year – that the initiative will promote the importance of sharing within our younger community.