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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Volunteers in the United Arab Emirates have set up more than 90 outdoor refrigerators where laborers and others can pick up food and bottled water, a charity initiative in honor of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
On a recent day in Dubai, blue-collar workers, laborers and drivers stopped by a fridge to get a cold bottle of water or a mid-afternoon snack. The food includes chips, dates, fruits and vegetables — as well as the occasional hot meal. Volunteers with the "Sharing Fridge" campaign restock each fridge up to 15 times a day.
Fikra Boukouayel, a volunteer who was the first to put a fridge outside her home, told The Associated Press that many people have leftovers after iftar, the lavish meal that follows the daily dawn-to-dusk fast.
"We thought why not open a fridge where people could bring that food instead of wasting it," she said.
Workers taking food from the fridges include non-Muslims, who will eat and drink out of sight in line with the UAE's laws against public consumption during the fast. Muslim workers often take the food and water home to enjoy when they break their fast.
And in the UAE, where laborers often live in poor conditions, earn low wages and face loans back home, the campaign has offered the country's affluent a way to give back.
"It has taught us a lot about them — and them about us," said Sumayyah Sayed, one of the campaign's founders.
Follow Malak Harb on Twitter at www.twitter.com/malakharb .