Kechara Soup Kitchen launches food drive for Malaysia’s most vulnerable

Kechara Soup Kitchen launches food drive for Malaysia’s most vulnerable

The organisation has been serving the houseless and marginalised communities for over 14 years

IN conjunction with World Food Day, Kechara Soup Kitchen (KSK) is organising a food drive event to provide aid to the houseless and marginalised communities in Malaysia.

Amid the rising cost of food prices, many families are starting to feel the brunt. And according to a recent report by The Malaysian Insight, donations to food banks have dropped.

Two years of the Covid-19 pandemic has also increased the number of people affected by houselessness, unemployment and poverty. Goh Teck Kuan, of Ji Shan food bank said, “There are still a lot of people who require food aid, at least 40% more, but the stock of non-perishable food items is low.

“We are unable to give out large quantities of dry food as it has to be distributed among many people.

“Even businesses that used to contribute to the food bank have stopped doing so. We understand the current state of the economy, so we don’t force them to donate.” KSK operations director Justin Cheah echoed similar sentiments in an interview.

“As of now we are 40% short of our projected donation for this year,” he remarked. Given these circumstances, the NGO is ramping up efforts to rebuild awareness so they may continue serving the most vulnerable among us.

Throughout this month, KSK is also collaborating with other food banks around the region such as Feeding Hong Kong, Food Cycle Indonesia, Green Food Bank China, Rise Against Hunger Philippines, and Scholars of Sustenance (Bali) to raise food and funds in their respective countries under the “Drive Hunger Away 3” campaign organised by Food Bank Singapore.

KSK started operations in 2008, serving people left to fend for themselves on the streets. “From serving the houseless on the streets, we expanded our services to food banking to meet the needs of the urban and rural poor by providing them dry provisions and surplus produce, which started in 2012,” Justin said.

“In 2017, we started giving skillsets training to underprivileged individuals so that they can earn extra income to support their livelihood.”

For Justin, who switched careers from a corporate job to joining Kechara Soup Kitchen, the experience has been rewarding.

“It is the impact we have created on society all these years that has kept us going and the belief that we could help more people if we continue to work harder. It is heartwarming to see them move into a better quality of life, away from houselessness and towards becoming financially independent.”

Most of all, for Justin, the lesson is to always remain humble, to practice kindness and the spirit of paying it forward.

“[The job] has always taught me to remain humble. Someone who has nothing finds it easier to give. An elderly lady who has no food to put on the table yet still feeds stray cats. Practicing kindness is simple,” he said.

Donors interested in participating can drop off food donations at their food banks located in Kuala Lumpur, Georgetown, Ipoh, Melaka, and Johor Bahru.

They can also do so by purchasing and dropping off at KSK partner locations: Lotus Malaysia stores (Tanjung Pinang, Station 18, Kepong, Melaka, and Seri Alam) and AEON (Shah Alam) which KSK will be collecting on October 16.

KSK has listed the following items on their wish list: rice, cooking oil, flour, instant oat, sugar, milk powder, dry/instant noodle, chocolate-based drink, and canned food. Alternatively, they are also accepting monetary donations:

Bank name: Maybank
Account number: 5122-3133-4874
Account name: Kechara Soup Kitchen Society
Individuals donating can add #WorldFoodDay on the transaction reference. For a tax-exemption receipt, WhatsApp 010-3333 260 with proof of payment, name, and mailing address. Donations of RM50 and above are tax-exempted under Section 44(6) of the Income Tax Act 1967.

Collected food will be delivered after the World Food Day event, and photos will be published on their social media channels. The organisation is also looking for volunteers to be part of the delivery team.

source – The Vibes

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