In Egypt, the holy month of Ramadan is traditionally a time for giving to the poor and needy, and many people participate in this act of charity by donating money, food, or other forms of aid to those who are less fortunate. However, this year, due to the economic crisis, many charities and aid organizations in Egypt are struggling to provide the same level of assistance to those in need.

The rise in prices of basic food items and other necessities, coupled with the scarcity of donors, has made it difficult for many organizations to continue offering the same level of aid they have in the past. As a result, soup kitchens and other organizations providing free meals during Ramadan have had to cut back on the number of meals they can serve.

For example, one small charity in the working-class al-Marg district of Cairo, which provided 360 fast-breaking meals per day during Ramadan last year, is now only able to provide 200 meals per day due to the current economic situation. The founder of the charity, who wished to remain anonymous, noted that the free meals have become vital to many families who can no longer afford basic food items like meat or chicken, which are now out of reach for the majority of Egyptians.

Inflation, which is currently running at 33%, and devaluation, which has reached 50%, have further exacerbated the situation. Many families who previously were able to provide for themselves are now finding it difficult to make ends meet, with some even skipping meals throughout the year to save money. This has led to an increase in the number of families seeking assistance during Ramadan, placing additional strain on charities and aid organizations.

Despite the challenges, many Egyptians still value the tradition of giving during Ramadan, and Manal Saleh, head of the Egyptian Clothing Bank and founder of the Food Bank, notes that 90% of donations to charities were received during Ramadan in 2021, according to official figures. However, the current economic situation, coupled with the war in Ukraine and global inflation, has made it more difficult to provide aid.

Charities and aid organizations are doing their best to adapt to the situation. For example, a retired engineer in Cairo, who runs a small soup kitchen with several friends, has had to increase the amount of cooking needed to provide assistance to more people. Many middle-class people are also turning to NGOs for help with paying rent, school fees, or car maintenance, as they struggle to cope with rising prices.

Despite the challenges, Ms. Saleh is optimistic that Egyptians will continue to come together to help those in need, even if they cannot give as much as they have in the past. She believes that there will be more volunteers and people willing to cook for others, even if they don’t have the financial resources to give. Despite the difficult circumstances, Egyptians are still finding ways to support each other and offer aid during this important time of year.