Clueless ministry draws flak over kitchenware gifts for homeless

Two of the homeless men show off the electrical appliances given to them. — Picture by Malay Mail
Two of the homeless men show off the electrical appliances given to them. — Picture by Malay Mail

IPOH, Jan 8 — The decision to hand out kitchen and electrical appliances to the homeless at a Federal Territories Ministry open house has been met with bemused reactions from soup kitchen initiatives in Ipoh.

Yesterday, Malay Mail reported a ministry high-tea event at Dataran DBKL saw some of the underprivileged walk away with gas stoves and food mixers, among others.

In Ipoh, Lighthouse Hope Society soup kitchen administrator Richard Lee reacted with surprise.

“Why would anyone give them kitchen items? Isn’t it obvious that they are only going to sell it off?” he questioned.

“Most of the homeless people don’t have anywhere to plug in a mixer or a stove and they don’t have much food to cook.

“If they did, they wouldn’t be living on the streets.”

Lee said gifts for the homeless should be picked out based on their basic needs.

“If you want to help the homeless, you should be giving them clothes, shoes, food and maybe medicine if it is distributed by licensed medical personnel,” he said.

“It needs to be practical — put yourself in their shoes and think what you might need.”

Volunteer K.K. Yeoh agreed, saying kitchen appliances were effectively worthless to the homeless.

“They live from day-to-day, and most would sell anything that is not a necessity — even if it only gets them between RM1 to RM3,” he said.

Yeoh said most of the homeless people he came across did not have many belongings with them, and tried to save whatever they had for as long as they could.

“They may only have one T-shirt, which they will wear until it is torn and tattered, so items like clothes are more meaningful to them.

“Kitchen appliances are more useful for the recent flood victims because they have a life to rebuild.

“The homeless live on the streets and need a completely different type of help.”

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