This week the Saudi minister for Municipalities Affairs and Urban in Charge, Majid Al Qasabi, issued a decree. This decree ordered all event managers and restaurant owners to register with charities so the food doesn’t go to waste.
This step was introduced to utilize the food that is usually left after a big event or by restaurants. It also aims to increase awareness amongst the Saudi public regarding the importance of resources.
A report by FAO statistics states that food waste in Saudi Arabia is up to 30%. This amounts to SAR 49 Billion. ($13 billion).
On many occasions, a huge amount of what is left over is just thrown away. Especially in the case of party halls and restaurants.
In Islam, the word “takaful” highlights a social responsibility and plays a significant role for Muslims. It brings the rich and the poor together. In Islam, Prophet (PBUH) has asked Muslims to give as much charity as possible. So that there is harmony and they can also gain Thawab.
The decree orders the organizers or managers of the event to contact a charity. Preferably, the ones that have their headquarters in Makkah and branches all over the country. Then, they collect, repack and distribute the food to those in need. The decree received a positive response on social media. Many twitter users appreciated this initiative. Campaigns such as #StoptheWaste have worked on this issue for the past few years. They have worked on creating awareness amongst the people with regard to food wastage. Today, there are a few families that share their food with those who are less fortunate.
Right now, In Saudi Arabia, there are over 2000 charities that are operating to help less fortunate members of society. They collect fundings and donations from those who are more fortunate. The Saudi government also allocates a budget for charities to support their finances.
The rules of operations of these charities are set by the government. Until 9/11 people contributed freely to these charities. However, After 9/11, the work of charities in Saudi Arabia came under scrutiny. Today, any charity that wants to operate has to comply with strict rules set by the Saudi government. Therefore, every amount that is given, has to be documented in the charity’s financial statements. Along with, listing names of contributors and the purpose of their contribution. So, they can trace back any contributions, if needed.