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Egyptian charities dish out meals during Ramadan, despite soaring costs

1 min

For the past five years, Egyptian Laila Abdel Maksoud and her family have run a charity offering free meals during the holy month of Ramadan, serving more and more people even as soaring inflation has driven up costs for the organization.

A volunteer prepares hot meals for the fasting public during the holy month of Ramadan amid the economic crisis, in Cairo, Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

For the past five years, Egyptian Laila Abdel Maksoud and her family have run a charity offering free meals during the holy month of Ramadan, serving more and more people even as soaring inflation has driven up costs for the organization.

Maksoud said they first started out with 500 meals, but this year they've surpassed 4,000 as millions of Egyptians struggle to cope with record inflation.

A severe shortage of foreign currency exacerbated by global factors including a drop in Suez Canal revenue has hobbled the economy over the last two years.

Despite investments from Gulf countries and a financial package from the IMF last month, Egyptians and charities still feel the pinch from soaring prices.

"Every year it's becoming more expensive and with the current conditions, we don't know where we're heading, but we intend to continue," Maksoud said.

Similarly, Ahmed Farouk, administrative director of the charity Ummat Al-Habib Association that provides families stipends and meals, said costs have surged six-fold, sending more people into poverty.

"There's a category of people who previously didn't come (to receive meals), now they started coming," he said. "I can confirm wholeheartedly that Egypt is moving only because of its people's good intentions."

Reporting by Sayed Sheashaa and Mariam Rizk

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