User-friendly vending machines that prepare and dispense hot bread within a minute have been installed across Dubai as part of a first-of-its-kind initiative to ensure no needy resident sleeps hungry in the UAE’s capital city.
The ‘Bread for All’ initiative was launched on Saturday and has started providing relief to labourers, delivery riders, and daily workers who can now eat hot bread for free. The pre-programmed machines prepare bread and provide it free of charge as part of a modern and sustainable model of charity work.
The campaign was launched by the Mohammed bin Rashid Global Centre for Endowment Consultancy (MBRGCEC), under the Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation (AMAF), to help underprivileged families and workers by providing them free bread at various times of the day.
Placed at the entrance of several Aswaaq grocery outlets, the machines, refilled twice a day to ensure constant supplies, give people the option to choose between Arabic bread and finger rolls. Once selected ‘Click to Order,’ the machine begins preparing and then dispenses hot bread in around a minute.
The project realises the vision of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice-President and the Prime Minister of the UAE. The Ruler of Dubai had stressed at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic that: “In the UAE, no one sleeps hungry or in need”.
It also engages community members and enables individuals to contribute to the first-of-its-kind initiative that adopts the principle of short-term community funding.
Members of the public can donate to this initiative either at the machine or through SMS. At the machine, those willing to contribute can click the donate button and select the amount starting from UAE Dirhams 10. They can then tap their credit or debit card on the payment machine.
“This will help me to save the money I had set aside to buy bread for dinner,” the Khaleej Times newspaper quoted as saying a person waiting at the vending machine in Al Quoz 2 area.
“We have seen a lot of people make use of the machine. Many were labourers who work in the area. Some were delivery riders and workers,” the report quoted a security guard as saying.
“This initiative aims to enhance the principle of sustainability in humanitarian work and spread social solidarity in society,” said Zainab Juma Al Tamimi, Director of MBRGCEC.
She also confirmed that there were plans to increase the number of vending machines. “There is an expansion plan in Dubai and other emirates after 6 months,” she said.