The Meals on Wheels Initiative at Za’atari Camp in Jordan is bringing healthy meals to neighbors recovering from COVID-19.
As the world is gripped by a global health emergency, the close quarters of refugee camps can put displaced people at risk. To encourage distancing while those with COVID-19 recover, UNHCR funded a healthy meals project at Za’atari Camp. Each day, women at the camp prepare healthy meals which are delivered to patients staying in the isolation site and Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders) clinics.
Meals are prepared by a group of 14 women who were trained on food preparation, hygiene, and proper sanitization and packaging. The women prepare daily fresh meals in their homes, while wearing personal protective equipment, and are paid for their work and all ingredients.
“During the pandemic, a lot of families went through severe economic hardships. Working makes us feel useful again,” said Um Alaa, one the cooks. “The healthy meals project gives us purpose and helps us increase our income while serving our community.”
To support the initiative, fully equipped kitchens are being installed in the camp’s Made in Za’atari Centers. Following Ministry of Health standards, the space has been set up to allow for social distancing .
Blumont established a meal delivery service to ensure food reaches patients safely and on time. Volunteers from across the camp deliver meals to health centers by bicycle.
To date, approximately 8,500 meals have been delivered to COVID patients and to older camp residents who cannot reach food markets. This included 55 meals delivered to community elders during the month of Ramadan to help families preserve the tradition of sharing an iftar meal together to break their fast.