MARCH 27 — In these trying Covid-19 times, it is of utmost importance that we as a society come together to assist those in need of assistance.
To curb the spread of the coronavirus, the government introduced a movement control order (MCO) meant to span a period of two weeks, from March 18 to March 31. This, however, has been extended to April 14 in light of the daily rise in recordedinfections and deaths nationwide.
The situation faced by us as a society appears grim, many of us at home pace around the corners of our houses as boredom infiltrates our reality, the days seem long and the hours longer.
While we think up new ways of occupying our time and dream of the hour when we may roam our land freely once againa segment of society wish theirs were a similar reality.
This segment of society, our blue collared workers, has gone unnoticed, hidden by a shadow of poverty and suffering, forgotten perhaps by the upper echelons of society.
The time has come for us to remember that the success of our nation and the comforts of our generation were built on the backs of these workers and we should help them in their time of need.
It is crucial that we acknowledge the fact that the poor and vulnerable of society, not forgetting the refugees and orang asli, are affected the most.
They have lost their daily source of income, which they rely upon entirely to support their families and are now burning through their savings as the days go by.
The MCO has stripped them of their means to earn an income and hence that which envelops their reality is not just the question of what they do with their time but the question of how to put food on the table for their families.
As we fill our bowls with nourishments, let us remember that there are those who wish they had a bowl to fill. There are men, women and children who are going hungry with no means of sustaining themselves, whose stomach growl at the thought of food and fear is their reality, a reality none of us would wish for.
With that thought in mind, let us find it within ourselves to show compassion,empathy and kindness to those who need it the most during this period of uncertainty.
The way to do so is simple and is as such: By donating food or by way of monetary contributions to the numerous charitable organisations going out of their way to raise funds for our frontliners as well as the vulnerable in our communities who are badly affected by the movement control order.
Award-winning local author Hanna Alkaf has compiled a list of funds via a website she recently set up known as www.kitajaga.us.
As part of this initiative she has recruited a list of non-govenmental organisations (NGOs) which include but are not limited to NGOs such as Mercy Malaysia, Women's Aid Organisation (WAO) and Befrienders KL.
Independent organisations such as Puak Payong which offers assistance to students, Buku Jalanan Chow Kit that distribute food to families in need within the Chow Kit area and Kechara Soup Kitchen which provide food to the needy also make up the movement.
We highly encourage all those who are yearning to assist in any way possible visit her website. The purpose of #KitaJagaKita is explained in the website and is as follows:
#KitaJagaKita is a "one-stop shop" for Malaysian civil society Covid-19 efforts.
We match people who want to help (the rakyat, corporate sponsors) with people who need help (affected individuals, groups, medical community) via various civil society initiatives.
#KitaJagaKita maintains an independent list of verified organisations working tirelessly to assist those in need regardless of background.
Donations pertaining to food and money can be made to those civil society initiatives as detailed in the abovementioned website and we implore not just members of society but private companies, government-linked companies (GLCs) and other organisations to pledge financial support and assist NGOs in providing aid to the poor and the needy who are going hungry during these trying times.
In true Malaysian fashion as well, there have been many heartwarming stories circulating on social media about how ordinary Malaysian citizens are going out of their way to assist the needy. One such person is Dharran.
Dharran is spearheading a collaboration between "Gajaa at 8" a restaurant in Kuala Lumpur and The Lost Food Project whereby they have taken it upon themselves to address the needs of our blue collared
workers, part-time workers, contract staff and employees who have been laid off or forced to take unpaid leave during the duration of this MCO by preparing one meal a day at RM4/pax for 250 workers until the MCO is revoked.
These meals are not leftovers rather fresh produce are used to cook for all 250 workers who turn to them for aid. All that is required is for them to pay a visit to the Gajaa at 8 restaurant and collect their food parcels.
If they are unable to do so, Skynet has agreed to pick up and deliver the meals at designated locations around the Klang Valley.
These efforts, as commendable as they are, require our financial assistance as well to keep them up and running thus ensuring that these workers are able to obtain their daily sustenance for the duration of the MCO.
Those who are interested in making financial contributions can do so via a bank transfer to their company account at Acha Restaurant Pit Maybank (564324609760). In the alternative, fresh produce can be delivered straight to the restaurant as well at the following address: No. 8, Lorong Maarof Bangsar Park, 59000, Kuala Lumpur.
Those of you who would like to inquire as to how further assistance may be provided, may do so by contacting Dharran at +60125787652.
All financial donations are detailed on Gajaa at 8's Facebook Page as well as the The Lost Food Project's Facebook Page.
If you would like further information regarding financial contributions made, an email can be sent to The Lost Food Project at [email protected] and they would be happy to answer any queries you may have.
Our elected representatives too have been actively assisting their electorate and the front liners in their constituency in any which way they can.
For all who wish to be a part of this national movement to assist our fellow Malaysians and refugees who are in need, we implore you to contact your state representatives (ADUNs') personally and inquire as to how you too can contribute and assist them in this hour of need.
We live in unprecedented times, Malaysia has never faced a pandemic much like the Covid-19 before. But if there is one thing that can be said about us Malaysians is that we are a caring lot and in times of hardship we band together as one. Our forefathers did it during World War 1 and the Japanese occupation, our parents and grandparents lived through and pulled through the aftermaths of World War 2.
The time has come for our generation to answer the call of unity and play our part in ensuring our people and our beloved nation strive and reign supreme in this war against an invisible enemy.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer(s) or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.