PETALING JAYA, Nov 20 — Local charitable non-governmental organisation (NGO) Kechara Soup Kitchen is known for feeding the needy.
Three years ago, the NGO decided to spread its wings to Negri Sembilan to provide essential food supplies to the underprivileged communities.
According to its project director Justin Cheah, the food bank distributes surplus dry food products from supermarkets and regular monthly dry food items to those who need them through donations by the public.
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“We have partnered with Tesco Malaysia and also other grocery stores such as Family Store, Econsave and Aeon hypermarkets to donate their food such as vegetables, fruits and even bakery products that are near the expiry dates so that we can distribute them to needy communities.
“While Tesco Malaysia is our main partner, we are still in the midst of working with other grocery stores so that they understand our work and would eventually help our cause.”
Food items that are near the expiry date and hard to sell in bulk are then collected by Kechara’s volunteers who collect them to be given to those that need them.
Cheah said that the charitable non-organisation has also been working with religious institutions that have been organising food charity programmes and food banks to support the needy.
“Most of our recipients are from the B40 community and those that stay in people’s housing project flats. Residents that we know through recommendations or word-of-mouth from our volunteers.
“Through online surveys and interviews, we were able to allocate the provisions according to their needs and we discovered that it was single mothers who needed food supplies most of the time.
“We also distribute food items to the Orang Asli communities in the Labu area in Seremban and Bahau town in the Jempol district.”
The project director said that there are Orang Asli representatives that are part of its food bank where they are able to get in touch with needy communities who need food provisions.
Having a well-planned schedule, the team works in different areas of Negri Sembilan on different days, but Sundays are dedicated to providing monthly dry food provisions to those in need.
Asked as to how the food kitchen operated during the movement control order (MCO), Cheah said that it was tough for volunteers as supermarkets were running out food items because many resorted to panic buying.
“However, during the conditional MCO when rules were loosened to allow business to operate under certain conditions, our food bank was ready to move around to help the needy.”
Cheah remains hopeful that the food bank will progress beyond distributing food and to eventually providing job training classes in the future.
“Currently, we have about 100 volunteers consisting of 50 active volunteers. But we hope to expand our team especially in the Kuala Pilah and Jelebu districts,” he said.
Anyone who is keen to volunteer or donate to Kechara Soup Kitchen can head over to its Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/KSKPage.