From giving free swimming lessons to starting food banks, this Seremban woman has a heart for the poor

The young and old stocking up food cabinets with essentials such as packet drinks and bread. — Picture courtesy of Irene Hisham
The young and old stocking up food cabinets with essentials such as packet drinks and bread. — Picture courtesy of Irene Hisham

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PETALING JAYA, June 17 — Seremban swimming instructor Irene Hisham used to give free swimming lessons to about 15 students from poor families so that they could learn the sport.

They came from poor families who were too poor to send their children for such lessons.

Irene would also send and fetch these students to the sports centre to ensure that their parents need not worry about their children’s transportation as long as the students put in their effort for training sessions and competitions.

For some of them, their hard work coupled with Irene’s guidance paid off as the students managed to represent their schools for various swimming competitions.

Even last year during the first movement control order, the Flying Eagles Swimming Club coach conducted free online lessons so that they could catch-up with their swimming lessons.

Her work for the needy didn’t just stop there as the swimming coach also went all out to provide food provisions for about 250 needy families during the first national lockdown.

Speaking to Malay Mail, she said that this year with more people calling her up to provide food supplies, she said that she was driven to set-up food banks in Seremban to feed people since the start of the recent lockdown.

In just a few weeks, other food cabinets were placed in other parts of Seremban thanks to the kindness and generosity of the public.

“Food banks are easier to operate as one just has to put food drawers in one area and just replenish the food banks once the food supplies are depleting.

“My friends and I started off by putting plastic cabinets in Seremban and filling it with food supplies such as rice packets, sugar, canned food and eggs.

“There were many times where strangers came to replenish the food banks once they were out of food supplies.”

Her team and her would also regularly check the food cabinets daily to make sure that the cabinets are always filled with food.

She said that anyone can help fill up the food banks and do not necessarily need to fork in a large sum of money.

“We don’t ask food recipients to write their details as it can be embarrassing for them.

“Instead we just put a notice to tell everyone to take according to their needs.

“Anyone can also become a donor even if it’s just getting a packet of sugar or a dozen eggs and putting them in the cabinet and whatever anyone gives is a lot to a family in need,” she said.

Currently, Irene and her team are looking for plastic cabinets so that more food cabinets can be placed in various locations.

The current food banks are located in Centrio S2, Garden Homes, Garden Avenue, Rasah Jaya and Kampung Pasir.

Those interested in donating cabinets or food provisions can contact Irene at 018 — 271 0512.

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