With Ramadan now officially in full swing in Qatar, many charities have been working overtime to help the less fortunate both inside and outside of the country.
To help support their efforts, local groups have turned to residents for monetary and in-kind donations.
But charities also depend a great deal on volunteers. With altruism at its peak in Ramadan, some may be wondering how to give more than just money to help the community.
Here are five ways that both Qataris and expats can donate their time over the next few weeks:
Several charities have organized campaigns in which families in need and other groups of people are delivered iftar meals each day.
For example, Qatar Red Crescent’s volunteers pack, deliver and distribute the meals to hundreds of street sweepers in the Al Sinaiyah daily.
Those who wish to help drop off the meals can sign up to volunteer on QRC’s website here or by visiting the charity’s headquarters on the Corniche.
Notably, QRC requires volunteers inside Qatar to be at least 18 years old and hold a valid ID card.
Several local charities have also set up air-conditioned tents around Qatar to feed thousands of people free iftar meals.
These groups rely on volunteers to help set up the tents and tables ahead of dinner, seat the people and serve the food, as well as assist with cleanup.
In addition to QRC, Sheikh Thani Bin Abdullah Foundation for Humanitarian Services (Raf) is also seeking volunteers to staff its iftar tents.
Volunteers must be 15 years or older, and can register by calling 44981094 or visiting the society’s youth center in Al Rayyan.
Qatar Charity also hosts a number of tents. Volunteers can visit QC’s headquarters near the Old Airport, and submit an application there to register.
Each day during Ramadan, a canon goes off at the state mosque to signal the end of the fast.
The tradition attracts hundreds of residents, and QRC sometimes provides water, dates and nuts to visitors, as well as to workers inside the mosque and other nearby locations.
Speaking to Doha News, Najat Al-Haidous, head of QRC’s volunteers’ division, called the gesture a small tribute, saying, “These workers serve us all day and it’s time for us to serve them as well.”
Meals at traffic signals
As part of its “mobile iftar” program, QC is seeking volunteers to distribute meals and water on main streets and roundabouts during sunset prayers, to feed those who are still on the road when it’s time to break the fast.
Those who are frantic to reach their destinations during this period can pose a safety risk for all, according to the MOI, which has advised commuters to drive with care during iftar time.
Picking up leftovers
After all the eating is done, the Sheikh Eid Charity Association offers a pickup service to collect leftover food from homes, hotels, restaurants and other venues where there is enough remaining to feed 10 or more people.
It also hosts iftar tents. Volunteers interested in helping the charity can fill out an application at the group’s cultural center, located near Al Markhiya Sports Club.