By STAN SZECOWKA
Posted On » August 20 - 26, 2008 (Volume:7 / Issue 34)
MORE than 70 volunteers have now signed up to distribute free refreshments to construction and road workers in Bahrain toiling in the blistering summer heat.
The army of golden-hearted residents could belong to a United Nations' roll call with Bahrainis being joined by people from America, Europe, the Indian sub-continent and Africa.
It's a family affair for Lynda Mayoya, 36, from Kenya, who is joined by her children Stephanie, nine, and Samantha, five, both pupils at the British School of Bahrain, on the weekend water aid run.
Lynda, a paralegal and compliance associate at Unicorn Investment Bank, who lives in Mahooz, said: "It is such a fulfilling thing to do - you really feel as if you are helping.
"You also get the opportunity to talk to people and hear their stories and show your support as they are working in an extremely tough environment - my children really look forward to helping."
The community initiative incredibly spread and grew through word of mouth after a few individuals decided to distribute water to the workers.
At first a group of 35 volunteers gathered at Zinj to organise themselves in batches to purchase and distribute chilled water and soft drinks across the roadsides and construction sites of the kingdom.
American Joel Mumm, 29, a US_Navy electronics officer, who also lives in Mahooz, said: "I wanted to become involved in volunteering in Bahrain and this gave me the ideal opportunity.
"We are all aware that the construction labourers are not well paid, are working away from their families and toil hard outside in the hot weather.
"It's nice to think that the community can get together to help them.
"Perhaps, something more permanent can result from our efforts. It would be nice to think that this was not a one-off exercise as so many people have been galvanised into action."
Coca-Cola came on board to lend its support and offered more than 7,000 Arwa bottles of water to cover the entire seven-week-long operation.
An additional 2,400 cans of Fanta Citrus to cover the last two weeks of August is now also being given free of cost by the drinks company in addition to 2,000 cans provided free of charge for the launch event on July 19.
All the other drinks are bought at a discounted price from Coca-Cola. The volunteers have all contributed sums of cash with amounts ranging from BD5 to BD50 to help cover the cost.
By the end of this month the volunteers will have distributed 10,500 cans of Fanta Citrus and over 7,000 bottles of Arwa water.
Coca-Cola continues to support the volunteers by providing chilled products and 40 cool boxes every week.
Leila Rajkumar, Coca-Cola's public relations manager, said: "The Coca-Cola Company is so very proud to be part of this charity drive.
"We strive to make a positive difference in communities in which we operate, by actively supporting such initiatives.
"This generous act of donating money, time and effort to put a smile on the faces of those toiling in the heat, is truly commendable! I hope that these young boys and girls will continue this practice of benevolent giving and inspire other youngsters to do the same."