Pakistan Association Dubai has been supplying food boxes in the emirate
With a monthly salary of Dh900, saving even Dh30 on iftar each day helps Muhammad Azad send money back to his elderly parents back home in Pakistan.
He is among thousands of workers in Dubai and Sharjah who has been receiving free iftar boxes filled with biryani, dates, fruit, laban and water.
Pakistan Association Dubai and Model Service Society , two non-profit organisations, handed out the meals.
“If we weren’t receiving these iftar boxes, we would have to go to the grocery store and buy our own food for the day,” said Mr Azad, 27, who has been working in Dubai for 10 years.
“Buying rice, meat, vegetables and fruit every day can be expensive for us. Cooked meals, like a plate of rice, can cost less but it is a small portion.”
He said the uncertain times created by Covid-19 has made it important for him and other workers to save as much money as they can, as their concerns over job security and delayed salaries grows.
Ghulam Gaji, 25, has a three-month-old baby back home in India who he supports, as well as his wife and parents.
“Any free meals that we can get will help us,” said Mr Gaji, who moved to Dubai nine months ago. “I don’t have a lot of my own personal expenses and I usually just spend on food, so this is helping me save.”
PAD has been sponsoring 2,500 meals for workers every day since May 4.
Rizwan Fancy, the director of the PAD’s welfare department, said the workers are required to eat the food in their rooms in order to maintain social distancing.
“For the last two months, many companies have no work and the staff have been sitting at home with no salary,” he said.
“They are desperate for food, especially those who rely on these kinds of distribution each year.”