Tehran – Despite the difficult economic and living conditions that a large segment of Iranians are going through, charitable institutions and Husseini processions are racing to carry out voluntary initiatives to distribute aid to the needy and prepare collective iftar tables.
After the group breakfast festival organized by the "Abbas Abad" tourism organization, last week, on the famous Tabiatah bridge north of Tehran, a group of Husseini processions in "Quds" Street, located in the "Ray" district, south of the capital, Tehran, organized the largest group iftar table with a length of one kilometer on the occasion of midday. Ramadan, the day before yesterday, Friday.
Following the great popular reception enjoyed by the Street Iftar Festival, which was organized by the Hussainiya Processions Association, by distributing about 3,000 meals last year, the Quds Street Processions Association – consisting of 40 religious processions – decided to expand the project to include 15,000 fasting people.
A candle of hope
In light of the high cost of living, Sadiq Qaini, who is in charge of the Longest Iftar Table Project in Iran, says that the festival came to be a candle of hope to express popular solidarity in the country, and that another aspect of the activity of the Religious Processions Association is concerned with distributing Ramadan baskets to needy families to help them overcome difficulties. dire economic situation.
In a statement to Al-Jazeera Net, Qaini confirms that the association has not received any official support in exchange for its charitable activities, and that what is collected from charitable donations exceeds the budget required for holding popular festivals, adding that hundreds of volunteers participate in cooking food and serving those fasting without any compensation.
After the Maghrib call to prayer, the festival began with the distribution of tea and light meals until the congregational prayer ended in mosques and hussainiyas on Quds Street, before turning into a square filled with food tables and various dishes of sweets, fruits, foods, soft drinks and juices.
The atmosphere of the street breakfast turned into a large religious party on the occasion of the blessed middle of Ramadan, in which a number of Tehran municipal officials, poets, artists and other local personalities participated. The organizers also allocated a pavilion for children's games and drawing competitions.
Hamed, 46, who attended the iftar table accompanied by his wife, Mahraneh, 41, and his two daughters, Hanana, 9, and Fattana, 3, says that the living situation has damaged family relations in the past years, as Iranians used to spend most of the nights of the holy month with the participation of families and families at tables. Their breakfast, and the neighbors race to invite each other even a decade ago, but the high cost of living has reduced the reunion of necks during the nights of the blessed Ramadan.
He added to Al-Jazeera Net that he attends group festivals to break the routine of his two daughters' lives, who spend most of their time in his residential apartment south of the capital, recalling the gathering of boys and girls during the past decades in the streets of the neighborhood to play group games and help families prepare breakfast tables.
As for Ali (67 years), an immigrant who arrived in Iran last year from Afghanistan, he says that he attends daily, accompanied by members of his family, consisting of his wife, 3 boys and 5 girls, the “simple breakfast” tables that the Tehran municipality prepares and distributes in public parks, and he expressed his complaint about the high cost of food. Food prices in Iran.
And Ali continued – in an interview with Al-Jazeera Net – that despite the high cost of living in Tehran and the low wages of workers in construction workshops, the blessed Ramadan alleviates the burden of the living crisis due to the increase in charitable initiatives in it and the keenness of most mosques to spread the iftar tables after the Maghrib call to prayer.
From the south of the capital, Tehran, Al-Jazeera Net communicates with Hajj Hussein (55 years old), who launched a project entitled "Baskets of Love" and published an advertisement on communication sites urging believers to donate the purchase of a food basket to be distributed to the poor and needy in the "Afsariyeh" area during the holy month of Ramadan.
Hajj Hussein explained – to Al-Jazeera Net – that his project is nothing but one of the individual initiatives undertaken by the Iranians, especially serving mosques to meet the needs of families with less income during the month of fasting, stressing that living has become difficult this year and this has negatively affected the volume of aid and donations that he has been collecting. It is distributed among needy families every year.
He added that the suburbs of Tehran and the southern regions of the capital receive the largest portion of the baskets of love that he collects from the donations of believers in the holy month, explaining that the baskets contain 10 kilograms of rice, a bottle of liquid oil, pasta, tomato paste, some dates and cheese.
Hajj Hussein concluded that despite the high cost of living and the suffering of the lower-income groups, there is no hungry person in the full sense of the word in his country, justifying this by registering the poor segments in the "Imam Khomeini Committee for Supply", which undertakes the task of providing a decent living for needy families.
For its part, the Iranian Red Crescent launched a national project under the title "Crescent of Mercy" to distribute food aid to the poor and needy throughout the holy month of Ramadan, without providing comprehensive statistics on the volume of aid distributed so far throughout the country.