DOHA: In a first such gesture, a shopping centre in Al Khor has put up a refrigerated shelf on its premises, stuffed with food one can pick for free provided one doesn’t have cash to buy food or is unemployed.
Instructions are written atop the shelf in Arabic and English which say this is free food and only for those who have either no cash to buy food or those who are unemployed.
There are instructions at the bottom of the shelf as well, in Arabic and English, which politely ask beneficiaries to exercise restraint and not empty the shelf and make sure that others like them also benefit from the largesse.
A cross-section of people this daily contacted for comment praised the initiative and said local charities should come forward and join hands with shopping outlets and restaurants to launch such shelves.
People feel that outlets like malls, hypermarkets and restaurants should have such shelves as part of their social corporate responsibility. It is a humanitarian and very thoughtful gesture, people said.
There are some who are unemployed and might at times not have cash to buy food. They have tremendous self-respect so can’t beg. Some see such initiatives as an extension of gestures by some philanthropist Qataris who buy large number of ‘khubs’ packets and keep at the exit of mosques during Friday prayers. One can see people, many of them low-income workers, picking a packet or two while leaving the mosque.