Jordan charity gathers hotel leftovers to feed poor

Children wait for meals provided through the initiative, Family Kitchen, which packages excess foods from five-star hotels to underprivileged families during the holy month of Ramadan, in Al-Baqaa Palestinian refugee camp, near Amman, Jordan, June 11, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 13 June 2018
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Jordan charity gathers hotel leftovers to feed poor

  • A team of volunteers collect unwanted food from lavish Ramadan buffets
  • Bandar Sharif began his ‘Family Kitchen’ initiative 10 years ago

AMMAN: At the end of a lavish Ramadan buffet in the banquet hall of one of Amman’s five-star hotels, a young Jordanian charity worker rushes to gather up left-over food that his team of volunteers will package and redistribute to needy families.
Bandar Sharif began his ‘Family Kitchen’ initiative 10 years ago, angered by the amount of food thrown away by hotels during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, traditionally a period when consumption levels double across the region.
“What we do is eliminate this waste, we salvage the food and provide it to people who are in desperate need of it,” said Sharif, a 33-year-old teacher.
His team of volunteers now works all year round to collect unwanted food from large wedding parties, bakeries and restaurants.
This year the initiative has focused on the Palestinian refugee camp of Baqaa, one of the depressed areas in a country that has seen some of the biggest protests in years this month over steep price hikes, which are backed by the International Monetary Fund.
Critics say the price hikes are to blame for rising poverty in Jordan.
Family Kitchen’s initiative this year provides ‘iftar’ meals — eaten by Muslims after sunset during the holy month of Ramadan — to 500 families in the impoverished refugee camp on the outskirts of Amman.
A third of the camp’s 120,000 residents have an income below the national poverty line and around 17 percent are unemployed, the UN refugee body says.
“Our families are very poor, there is a lot of poverty in the community, so they need this support, they need these meals in order to ensure that they have food the next day,” said Kifah Khamis, who runs a charity in the sprawling camp.
One camp resident, Um Thair, a mother of four, said she could not have coped without the meals delivered to her family.
“I was able to save money. During Ramadan I didn’t have to buy a lot of food or shop a lot, we got most of our meals from the charity, we would come everyday and get our iftar meal,” she said.


Lebanese icon hits right notes in Saudi debut

Updated 16 July 2019
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Lebanese icon hits right notes in Saudi debut

  • Wael Kfoury has the audience enthralled during the show

JEDDAH: Lebanese singer-songwriter Wael Kfoury, dubbed “the king of romance,” charmed his Saudi audience on Sunday in his first concert in the Kingdom, which was held at King Abdullah Sports City as part of the Jeddah Season festival.

Kfoury, who has been active for more than 25 years and has 17 albums, won Best Arabic Male Singer at the Arab Nation Music Awards in 2017.

He gained popularity in 1996 after releasing the song “Min Habibi Ana,” a duet with Lebanese pop singer Nawal Al-Zoghbi.

At Sunday’s concert, Kfoury modified his song “Yis’id Sabahak” to pay tribute to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Kingdom’s people.

The audience was extremely enthusiastic, chanting Kfoury’s name, cheering with excitement and singing along to every song.

Fans said they were very happy to have the Lebanese icon perform in the Kingdom for the first time, and thanked the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) for its efforts to provide high-quality entertainment in Saudi Arabia.

FASTFACT

Wael Kfoury won Best Arabic Male Singer at the Arab Nation Music Awards in 2017.

“We’re so happy to have him here. I’m one of his biggest fans. Many thanks to the GEA, which brought us events that we really wanted in Jeddah,” said Dima Rasheed.

Abdullah Qabel said: “We were raised listening to Kfoury’s songs when were younger. We’re very happy to be here and attend his concert in our country. Many thanks to the GEA for making all these events available for us. I look forward to more.”

Ebraheem Moawad said: “It was an amazing experience. I’d like to thank the GEA because I never thought I could see these artists in Saudi Arabia. I always thought I should travel to see them, but seeing them in my country is amazing.”

Mona Abdullah said: “I never thought I’d attend a Kfoury concert in Saudi Arabia. I’d always imagined I had to travel to attend his concerts. I was very excited to attend. Kfoury has been one of my favorite artists since I was 10 years old.”

Lamya Ajaj said: “Kfoury is one of the most significant artists to me, and he has so many fans here. I was so happy he came to Saudi Arabia. 

“Jeddah Season’s efforts are unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, from the various exciting shows and organizing, to the professional and helpful volunteers.”