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Halal Industry

Ramadan 2024: How regional corporate charity swung into action

Ramadan is a period of reflection not only for individuals but for businesses as well. 

Not only is there a sense of empathy among individuals during the holy month but companies also look to avail this period to give back to the community through sponsorship of Iftar meals and volunteer initiatives. 

Meal donations during Ramadan have particularly become a tradition among corporates in the Middle East.

For instance, the Saudi Food Bank (Et’aam) collaborated with several companies this Ramadan through its ‘Iftar fast-breaking program’. These included Kiri, a prominent brand of global cheese powerhouse Bel Group, with whom it distributed 20,000 Iftar meals to individuals across the Saudi city of Jeddah.

Amazon Saudi Arabia also expanded its collaboration with Eta’am during the holy month, leveraging its logistics network to distribute hundreds of thousands of meals as part of its ‘Ramadan Al-Khair’ program. The initiative enabled Amazon customers in the kingdom to purchase a Ramadan food basket online and donate essential groceries such as oil, sugar, and flour to those in need. 

In a massive meal donation drive in the UAE, Dubai-headquartered Islamic insurance provider Watania partnered with the Emirates Red Crescent to distribute over 15,000 Iftar meals, and with local NGO Model Service Society to sponsor 1,250 Iftar meals for labor camps. These efforts saw Watania’s staff volunteers contribute more than 50 hours of their personal time.

"Our Ramadan initiatives are a testament to our dedication to social empowerment and community solidarity. It is through such engagements that we can truly make a difference, fostering a culture of empathy and unity that resonates throughout the year,” Mufti Aziz, vice president for Shari’ah at Watania told Salaam Gateway.

Elsewhere in the region, Orange Jordan donated food parcels and Iftar meals to several humanitarian organizations during Ramadan, such as the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization, food security NGO Tkiyet Um Ali, and King Hussein Cancer Center. The telecom operator also collaborated with Amman-based Haya Cultural Center to sponsor Iftar for 100 children.

Meanwhile, hotel establishments in the UAE embodied the spirit by giving back to the community in thoughtful ways. 

An example is Media One Hotel, which installed a Ramadan-sharing fridge at its Dubai Media City location for the fifth consecutive year. The fridge was stocked by the hotel and the surrounding community to help blue-collar workers break their fast after a day of hard work.

Lina Yousif, head of people and culture at Media One Hotel said that the initiative has allowed the hotel to make a positive impact on the local community and provided its team members with a meaningful opportunity to volunteer and be a part of something larger than themselves.

The fridge benefitted more than 7,000 people during Ramadan, almost double the initial projections. 

“The response has been amazing. Over 25 companies within our community along with a dozen individuals have stepped up to support us with the sponsoring of the fridge items. We've also had over 20 individuals from our neighboring community come and join us for the distribution before Iftar timing,” said Yousif.

In Egypt’s capital city, Pyramisa Hotel Cairo showed its generosity in a different way, hosting a group of young patients from the Children's Cancer Hospital Egypt for an Iftar gathering. The event was more than just a meal as the hotel’s hospitality team connected with the children and gave them gifts. 

Meanwhile, many hotels made use of their kitchens to cook up Iftar meals for those in need. Among them were Hilton Group, which donated more than 8,000 Iftar meals to the UAE Food Bank through 30 of its properties, and Coral Beach Resort Sharjah and Bahi Ajman Palace Hotel, which together delivered 600 Iftar meals.

Other hospitality groups saw their staff venture into the streets to distribute Iftar meals to hardworking taxi drivers, a humble gesture of appreciation that sought to build stronger connections within the community. These included a few UAE establishments as well as The Westin and Le Meridien City Centre in Bahrain, Renaissance Cairo and Le Meridien Cairo Airport in Egypt.

Another initiative saw Dubai-based foodservice distributor Chef Middle East collaborate with the UAE Food Bank as well as Oman Food Bank, Mandarin Oriental, and Qatari food waste management specialist Wa’hab to donate 1,000 Iftar meals to those in need across the region.

Beyond hospitality groups, digital platforms such as multi-service app Careem, and online food ordering companies Talabat and Deliveroo, have all launched features to encourage customers to donate money during their purchases in Ramadan.

Talabat went a step further by donating one million Iftar meals this Ramadan towards the World Food Programme’s emergency response in Gaza, Palestine, which aimed to distribute the meals to 33,000 displaced people, mostly women and children.


Saudi Arabia
Royal Jordanian