Here’s How an Islander Satisfied Hungry Stomachs One Box at a Time

by Behnaz Sanjana

Thu, 14 May 2020

Back in 2016, Shameem Miranthi Dole; Miro to everyone who knows her; wanted to instil young minds with the habit of giving. The spark of this idea led the Sri Lankan-Malay to create a Facebook page called A Box of Goodness, encouraging residents to add one household item into a box a day, to have a package to donate to someone in need at the end of the month. “If each one of us makes it a habit, think of all the good we can collectively do,” says Miro. “Of course, you don’t need a wait a month to donate a box.”

As head of marketing and business development at a well-known real estate organisation, Miro knew more than a thing or two about spreading the word online. What started as a thought on social media snowballed into a movement of sorts, with friends and in turn their friends putting together a box of food staples for her to give away to the deserving. The trickle down has had a massive positive impact on so many lives.  

Every year, A Box of Goodness carries out a food drive during the Holy Month. “This year, in light of the Coronavirus situation, we started the ‘Bahrain Food Drive – COVID 19 Appeal’ on March 25, which has since carried on to merge with our annual Ramadan food drive,” says Miro.  “So far we have given 850 food packages to those left with no income due to the pandemic.”

The campaign has provided relief and succour in the form of food essentials to those in dire straits in the current circumstance– daily wage workers, car cleaners, and salon, hotel and restaurant employees among those who have been laid off or put on forced leave-without-pay. “We reach out to deserving Bahrainis too, not just expats. Every box contains the basic staples – rice, flour, sugar, long-life milk, salt and lentils. Besides this, there are facemasks and female sanitary products for ladies, among other items depending on our stocks,” she says. “We do as much of a background check as is possible, to ensure that donations reach those genuinely in need. In keeping with governmental regulations, the rations are handed over in a manner that avoids direct contact or crowding to ensure everyone’s safety.”

Under normal circumstances, besides the usual manner in which recipients are directed to collect their packages, Miro goes about her work day with spare packages in her car to give anyone she feels could do with some help.

“As we are not a formally registered charity, we have no funding and are not authorised to collect money from anyone. We operate purely on non-perishable food items that donors share with us, which we pass on to the less fortunate,” she states. “Those who do not wish to physically hand over items to us can place an order for any amount with All Food via private message on their Instagram, and when All Food has a sizeable sum collected for this cause, they supply us with that much worth of fruit and vegetables on a cost-to-cost basis to distribute for charity.”

A Box of Goodness also partners with Al Sanabel Orphan Care Society to host group birthday parties for children – complete with cake, snacks and games, with all facilities and items sponsored by donors.  Beach clean-ups have been undertaken in collaboration with companies like Bahrain Credit. The plastic waste collected is given to a charitable organisation that sells it for recycling, with the proceeds used to buy wheelchairs for the disabled. Miro’s initiative also accepts female sanitary products to provide to Shamsaha, a women’s violence crisis response center in Bahrain.  

To do your bit towards spreading some much needed hope and cheer this Holy Month, contact Miro @aboxofgoodness on Instagram.