Holiday box giveaway helps 70 families in Muscat

Energy Tuesday 11/September/2018 21:50 PM
By: Times News Service
Holiday box giveaway helps 70 families in Muscat

Muscat: A local Omani company will distribute ingredients for meals to more than 70 monetarily weak and financially challenged families in Muscat this weekend.
The initiative is part of global financial firm Protiviti’s “I On Hunger” charity and community initiative, which it does every year in collaboration with local charity Nidaa Al Khair. Shatha Al Maskiry, managing director of Protiviti Oman, said it is important to always take care of others, especially those who cannot take care of themselves. “This is one of our global initiatives that initially begun in the United States, and we agreed to do the same here,” she told the Times of Oman.
“Every year, we try to exceed our target. For example, in the first year, globally, we planned on distributing one million meals, but it touched two or three million, and every nation does it however they see fit. This is now our fourth year of ‘I On Hunger’. The team can really go out and experience the giving and the distribution.”
“We will look to target 70 plus families and we will be doing it by location in Bausher, because this is the area that Nidaa Al Khair has chosen,” added Al Maskiry.
“We try to give food, toys, cakes and cookies to the families and the children and make it a bit of a festive day for them. There are different methods of giving away meals. Because of the weather here, we don’t give meals, but instead, we convert whatever ingredients we are giving into the number of meals that can be made out of them.”
Al Maskiry added that there were many who did not know of the plight of financially challenged people in Oman, to whom they distributed enough for 126,000 meals last year.
“A lot of them don’t have fridges, air conditioners and other cooling systems, so giving them vegetables, meat and other groceries is not practical unless they are cooked on the same day,” she revealed. “Culturally, no one needs to admit that there is poverty, and to be honest, when we shared our photos on social media, we were getting bashed with people asking us why we were feeding the hungry when there was no poverty seen in the country. In terms of awareness, maybe they feel that we are shaming the poor people, and one of the core tenets of Islamic values is that you don’t say that you are going to give people things. You just do it.”
“Even the charity was surprised when we told them this, because they thought that we would just be going with them to one or two houses and leave, but we told them that we were not doing it just to take pictures, but the whole office was coming along,” added Al Maskiry.
“These boxes were quite heavy because they weight 15 to 20 kgs per box. We give them 10 kilos of rice, two litres of oil, five kilos of flour, so it was quite a lot.”
She added that the tradition of giving was one of the main pillars of the Islamic faith as well.
“The Islamic tradition says that we must help our immediate family,” explained Al Maskiry. “Give to people you know, including your neighbour, because if you do that, everyone will take care of everyone else. I have to take care of my family. We have people in Oman who live on a very basic income so all of us have to contribute, but how many people are actually doing that? There are some who can’t even afford to get a ride to the hospital so we need to help make people’s lives better.”
“We give flour, canned tuna, canned chickpeas, pulses, rice, flour, oil and milk powder, spaghetti and even some crème caramel that the Omani families can use and that the kids will like,” she added.
“These are things that will not spoil quickly and can be stored for a long time. We provide canned food and dried food.” It was the employees of Protiviti Oman who themselves volunteered to take part in this charity initiative.
“This is our own money that we contribute, and we buy all of our things from Lulu, because I prefer an organisation that is fast-moving,” said Al Maskiry. “Lulu packages it the day before and we oversee it on that day. It’s not just about giving things to people; it’s about the experience of participating in it. The team contributes, and then they also reach out to their extended families.”
“The employees and the charity go together because the charity workers know where the houses are, and we also have friends and family joining us,” she added.
“We’ve had everyone chipping in, from doctors to members of the Royal Family. I too have been out on the road and given food to people. What was shocking was that we didn’t know that such disadvantaged people lived so close to home. Yes, you hear about it and you read about it but you don’t actually see it so close to where we work. These people don’t even have air-conditioners, some of their homes don’t even have windows, they have complications with their diet and have issues such as Vitamin D deficiency. They are living below the OMR80 poverty line, because surviving on OMR80 a month is difficult,” added Al Maskiry.