How to avoid penalties for helping those in need

How to avoid penalties for helping those in need


An Egyptian entrepreneur, Yassin El Nubi, who distributed food to those in need in the Moscow region, is now working as a volunteer in Krasnogorsk, arranging the delivery of a range of products from home. A few weeks ago, an official complaint was made against him for breaking quarantine rules. Alania Zhurkina, Director of the House of Friends volunteer centre, has been explaining how people can avoid being penalised for helping those who are hungry.

Yassin came to Russia in 2011. He set up his own business selling Egyptian fruit and vegetables, as well as opening a hookah shop in Krasnogorsk near Moscow. In April, he decided to help residents in the Moscow region who were going hungry. Yassin and his brother, Tito, handed out food parcels once every three days in Krasnogorsk, Butovo and Mytishchi. On 5 May during another round of food distribution, the police arrived in Krasnogorsk. According to Yassin, some local residents had complained about food queues which led to an official charge being brought against the brothers for breaking COVID-19 restrictions.

Volunteers from the House of Friends centre have often been prevented by police from feeding homeless people. “In order to avoid being harassed, you need to come to an arrangement with your local police department”, said Zhurkina. “This is how we did it: We asked for an appointment with the local police chief where we talked about our initiative and established ground rules for how our helpers should operate. As a result, we reached an agreement on the number of hours and days that the volunteers could come down and work. The police have kept an eye on things and so far, we haven’t had any problems”, she added.

It takes a minimum of five people to monitor compliance with mandatory safety measures when organising the distribution of food, said Zhurkina, that is if you have to feed 30-40 people. If more than 200 turn up, around 10 would be required.

After the police incident, Yassin was invited to become a volunteer in Krasnogorsk. Yassin now restricts himself to organising the delivery of food parcels from his home which are paid for by the Moscow region Government.


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