An annual charity drive to collect toiletries and other daily necessities for Qatar’s blue-collar workers has kicked off early this year, and for the first time is being co-led by Qatar Charity.
The Mini Box Appeal, run by the Radisson Blu Hotel, is part of a campaign to encourage residents to donate essential items to help the less fortunate.
In Qatar, the drive is typically held in September, but this year an extra “mini” campaign has been launched in conjunction with Qatar Charity, to coincide with international Labor Day on May 1.
From now until April 21, residents can collect small containers, about the size of a shoe box, from the Radisson Blu, which is on the corner of C-Ring Road and Salwa Road.
They can be filled with new items such as t-shirts, caps, disposable razors, deodorant, shaving cream, toothbrushes and toothpaste, talcum powder, small hand towels, combs, soap and shampoo.
Donations of food or money are not accepted.
Once filled, the boxes should be returned to the Radisson Blu by April 21.
They will then be passed on to Qatar Charity, which will organize their distribution to workers in need in the Industrial Area.
For this smaller appeal, there is a target of 500 boxes, the hotel’s PR and Marketing Manager Hanna Moges told Doha News.
This campaign is in addition to the main box appeal which will still take place in September as usual. In the past, around 20,000 boxes annually have been donated and handed out in Qatar during this initiative.
The charity drive is now in its fourth year in Qatar and eighth year in the region, and operates in countries including Lebanon, Oman, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE in addition to Qatar.
However, it has attracted controversy as some residents describe the scheme of handouts as undignified, and argue that employers should be responsible for either providing their staff with these essential hygiene items, or should pay workers enough money to enable them to buy them for themselves.
There have been a number of initiatives recently to help Qatar’s lowest-income workers.
Earlier this month, two owners of Indian restaurant Zaiqa in the Industrial Area received global publicity after news spread of their idea to provide free food to those most in need.
Shadab Ahmed Khan and his brother Nishad Ahmed put a sign up in the window of their restaurant offering free meals to workers who were unable to afford food, after a customer who ate there said he didn’t have enough money to pay the bill.
However, the owners said they are not inundated with demands, and have just two to three requests a day for the free food since they began the initiative last month, with others too proud or shy to ask for handouts.
Will you take part in the box scheme? Thoughts?