Feed a Friend: A Grassroots Initiative Fighting Hunger Year-Round

Feed a Friend: A Grassroots Initiative Fighting Hunger Year-Round

Qatar Living
By Qatar Living

By Dipti Nair

Feed a Friend is a grassroots initiative founded in 2020, that provides essential groceries to those facing financial hardship, known affectionately as ‘Friends’ in need. The Friends are often in temporary situations, and need a little help and hope while they find their way back to employment.

Qatar Living had the privilege of speaking with Feed A Friend founder Alliyah Choudhury to delve deeper into the origins, operations, and aspirations of Feed a Friend.

Q. How did Feed a Friend start? Who are the ones behind this initiative?

Upon my arrival in Qatar in 2014, I sought opportunities to engage in meaningful outreach during Ramadan. A close family friend, Ruhul, dedicated himself to providing hot meals to those in need every Friday throughout the Holy month. This tradition continued annually until the Covid era. During this time, I witnessed the unfortunate scaling back and withdrawal of numerous community projects aimed at aiding the less fortunate worldwide. Simultaneously, temporary closures of businesses left many without employment. Compelled to take action during Ramadan 2020, my husband and I initiated localised hot meal distributions, aiming to bring comfort to those facing unprecedented hardships.

As Ramadan concluded, a lingering question echoed within me: Does hunger truly end with the arrival of Eid al Fitr? Is the act of feeding people a seasonal act of charity?

Then Feed a Friend came into fruition, with the support of five invaluable members:

Sean Dennis - Co-Founder.  My husband, my rock, my muscle! Sean is instrumental in the strategy and direction of FAF. 

Badana Begum - our lead advisor on the welfare of our Bangladeshi workers.

Ruhul Ahmed - Lead advisor and manager of our operations.

Amal al Sharshani - Our local legal advisor and expert in public relations.

Q. How does the volunteer system work?

The FAF motto is “by the community, for the community” - so the community is at the heart of what we do.  We have a diverse range of volunteers, including social media admins, WhatsApp group admins, bilingual case handlers, pledgers (those who provide food), distributors, loaders (who assist in loading up cars), photographers, packers, and many more. It's truly a vast movement encompassing various roles and talents.

We are fortunate to be based in a country where generosity and compassion are deeply ingrained values. Qatar is home to individuals eager to share their blessings with those in need, whether through their time or resources. 

To volunteer, scan the QR code below and join our WhatsApp community, where you can explore various groups and opportunities to participate.

 

Q. Is Feed a Friend only active during Ramadan?

Our approach is built to offer ongoing assistance beyond particular seasons or months. It reflects our steadfast dedication to our Friends throughout the entire year, echoing the wisdom of the Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad, "He is not a believer whose stomach is filled while his neighbor goes hungry." Therefore, we extend food support every month to ensure our friends in need receive consistent help and support.

 

Q. What can readers do to help or be part of the initiative?

We extend a warm welcome to everyone interested in getting involved. We've established dedicated WhatsApp groups for various types of volunteers, whether you can assist in processing applications or contribute to providing food. There's a place for everyone. Visit www.feedafriend.org to explore the different ways you can contribute and make a positive impact.

If anyone requires food because they are unable to afford it themselves, please go to www.feedafriend.org/apply and check our eligibility criteria.

 

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