- Title: SAUDI ARABIA: Saudi food bank aims to combat hunger by dishing out leftover food
- Date: 19th June 2012
- Summary: TEAM PACKING FOOD
- Embargoed: 4th July 2012 13:00
- Location: Saudi Arabia
- Country: Saudi Arabia
- Topics: Quirky,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVAXFSDD8IAYY9V4GT4CQVM70MA
- Story Text: There are estimated to be millions of meals left over from lavish Saudi dinner parties and dumped into the garbage.
But now one charity in the eastern city of Dammam has set up a food bank to collect untouched food left over after banquets and deliver them to people in need.
"Do you know that four million meals are thrown in the garbage daily? It's a shocking number, and this is what made some businessmen who are involved in the charity to start this project," said Khaled al-Khan, an official of Ita'am association.
"We collect surplus -- not leftovers -- surplus food which is still on the buffet and has not been touched, and after packing we take it and deliver it to the beneficiaries," Khan said at his office in the eastern city of Dammam.
The Ita'am food bank was launched by the Al Fozan social foundation.
A team of women carefully collects the food at parties. Due attention is paid to health and hygiene, Ita'am says.
"When we enter (for food packing), we are ready -- we wear a coat, complete the sterilisation process, then we wear gloves and head cover," team supervisor Norah al-Dumairi said.
Women workers said they were happy to be part of the team.
"My daughter and I joined this team, which is made up of 10 girls. I am very proud to have been selected for this group," said Aum Hamed.
"Wonderful work. Above all, it's an act of charity. We serve and help the beneficiaries and we get the rewarded by God," said Safiah.
The organisation supplies food to people recommended by charities.
"Charity associations are helping us in food delivery to the beneficiaries because they have their numbers and addresses," said Ita'am director Hammad al-Dowalea.
The project is supported by several businessmen and affluent individuals.
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