Near Hebron’s Ibrahimi mosque, the entrance to the “Takeyat Ibrahim” hospice is teeming with people coming to collect a free meal to break their fast with.
One Hebron resident says she wouldn’t need to seek charity if her situation wasn’t so desperate.
“I am here for the same reason as these other people are. If I didn’t need this then I wouldn’t be here. Because the situation is bad, because we can’t always get food. I have a difficult situation at home,” said Um Mohammed.
For many of these locals, the charity has become an essential source of nourishment.
In the kitchen, workers prepare cooked food in large tubs, filling the containers with chicken and peas. They’re working quickly to cope with the increasing demand.
“The number of meals from the beginning of the month aren’t consistent, but at the very least we get between 2500 and 3000 families every day,” said Ammar Al-Khatib, Supervisor of the Hospice Abrahimi Charity.
The hospice is run on private donations that are collected and distributed by the Islamic Religious Endowment Authority, the Islamic Waqf.
Many charities in the region offer free meals during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from dawn till dusk every day.
In Jerusalem’s Old City, workers at another hospice are getting ready for the expected influx of people.
“The Takeyat Hasseki Sultan has been going for many years, due to the economic hardship in Jerusalem. It plays a key role in relieving the suffering, and the economic and living situation, for the people in the Holy Land, and especially those living in the Old City,’’ said Sheikh Azzam Al Khatib, Jerusalem’s Director of Islamic Endowments.
The charity’s supervisor, Abdallah Ajaj, says that the numbers of those seeking free meals has been increasing.
“We have around 130 families in Jerusalem benefiting from this charity. There are even some families with middle incomes who sometimes come and take food from this charity,” said Abdallah Ajaj.
The charity has its roots in the Ottoman era, and according to those working for the organization it was established in 1552.
This Ramadan the food at Takeyat Hasseki Sultan was donated by Abu Dhabi princess Shamsa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
People pour into the hospice, with empty buckets and containers in hand, ready to take home the food to share with their families.
As well as the free meals distributed at the hospices, several charities are also holding large charity iftars, or Ma’edat al-Rahman, for Muslims during the holy month.