Facebook help group forced to cut food assistance to families in Dubai due to overwhelming demand


A Facebook group that was set up last year to help families struggling during the pandemic has had to limit the amount of food assistance offered to those in need.

Heather Harries, the founder of Stop and Help in Dubai, said the group was simply unable to keep up with the huge demand.

In an emotional video posted on Facebook, Ms Harries, the mother-of-two, said the group would continue to support those seeking help to find work.

Over the past 11 months, the Stop and Help community initiative has provided assistance to more than 100,000 people and put the equivalent of 2.5 million meals on tables.

Supplies of rice, bread, noodles and baby food are regularly delivered to homes across the city by volunteers.

The Harries family has been delivering food and supplies to families across Dubai. Heather Harries
The Harries family has been delivering food and supplies to families across Dubai. Heather Harries

“We have taken the very sad decision that we simply cannot keep up with the demand that we have,” Ms Harries said.

“We are not stopping, we are streamlining. We have supported over 100,000 people and the number does not go down because many have gone back to such low paid jobs.

“We will take harder decisions to try and make people more independent. You have no idea how tough that call is.”

Ms Harries said the decision to end support for many families was not an easy one, but said she could not promise things as there were fewer donors.

The British national urged those who were in need of long-term support to contact their embassies for help.

Going forward, she said a small group of volunteers from the group would continue to support families in emergency situations.

“We are still here to help connect you with jobs, help to rewrite your CVs, help with interview skills and, of course, support in any other way we can,” she said.

“But for food, we simply cannot do any more than absolute emergency situations and even these will be capped at four weeks.”

When fully operational, residents fill in their details via a form of the website and each application is validated and verified for their need.

Since the start of the year, the number of willing donors on hand to provide food and drink supplies to families has dwindled, forcing Ms Harries to limit food provisions.

Published: February 27, 2021 07:00 AM