KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 2 ― As many bade 2019 farewell, the Pit Stop Community Café which serves up hearty meals to the urban poor and the homeless, looked back on the year that was with a touching message that captured the generosity of volunteers.
The Facebook post which was shared on December 31, 2019 began with a vignette of one of the soup kitchen's volunteers, a young female doctor who never misses coming to the Café unless there is a family emergency or if she was overseas for a volunteer mission.
From the man who delivers produce from community garden Kebun-Kebun Bangsar to the woman who is in charge of raw eggs for the café and a kind gentlemen who has been supplying buns for over the year - the heartwarming post shone a light on the unsung heroes who make it possible for the café to carry out its mission.
According to Joycelyn Lee, who founded the Pit Stop Community Café with Andrea Tan, they started with 67 street clients in April 2016.
Today, the café serves anywhere from 120 to over 200 street clients, depending on day, weather and time of the month.
“For instance, we have lower numbers over weekends because there are other places providing food but on days like Mondays, Wednesdays and public holidays, our line grows rather long,” Lee told Malay Mail.
The café runs six days a week and requires the help of 10 to 12 volunteers a day.
Volunteers begin their day from 3pm onwards where they sign in and are given a briefing.
“After that, they help with vegetable prep such as peeling and slicing onions, garlic, potatoes, carrots and other vegetables that are being cooked for the day,” Lee said.
She added that they will also assist in the moving of rescued food items, loading and unloading.
“Closer to dinner service, they will be assisting with final dinner prep.
“Dinner service is 5.30pm, after which they will clean up,” Lee said, adding that volunteers are usually done by 7.30pm.
On top of dinner service, the café also provides haircut services to the community.
At the moment, the Pit Stop works with Lex Low who comes in once a month with his students.
The café only accepts a maximum of two people per individual booking, a standard operating procedure that was implemented after incidences of confirmed group bookings that failed to show up.
“There have been times when Andrea and I and a couple of our regulars run the whole dinner service on our own because of some very irresponsible people and because of this, we have a no more than two pax per booking policy,” she explained.
For groups keen on volunteering, Lee encourages them to sponsor a meal instead to avoid no-shows or those who show up just to take pictures instead of helping out.
“At the Pit Stop, we’re about service. So if anyone is merely looking to take pictures for social media about how they're ‘giving back’, we're quite happy for them to go elsewhere
“But we welcome with open arms those who genuinely want to serve, who are committed to making a change, who are willing to invest their time in helping to build our community,” said Lee.
The Pit Stop Community Café is located at 101, Jalan Tun HS Lee, Kuala Lumpur.