Food for the starv­ing

There are peo­ple who go hun­gry when times are lean. Bless the vol­un­teers who bring food to their doorsteps.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - SENIOR - – Majorie Chiew

CON­TRAC­TOR Tommy Teh can never for­get a poignant scene he chanced upon dur­ing a char­ity feed­ing pro­gramme at an old folks home. That of a four- year- old child feed­ing an el­derly man in his 70s. Teh saw it as the epit­ome of lov­ing kind­ness and re­spect for the el­derly.

Teh, 60, strongly be­lieves that the young should be taught val­ues such as com­pas­sion and char­ity.

Three years ago, Teh got in­volved with Meals on Wheels, a char­ity pro­gramme to feed the less for­tu­nate in ru­ral ar­eas. The pro­gramme is run by Ti- Ratana Pen­chala Com­mu­nity Cen­tre in Pe­tal­ing Jaya. The cen­tre has a van and food truck which make their rounds to dis­trib­ute food­stuffs and cooked meals.

Last year, vol­un­teers from the cen­tre drove to Ulu Ti­ram in Jo­hor to dis­trib­ute free meals to devo­tees at a kathina ( Bud­dhist alms giv­ing) cer­e­mony.

“We were among the food donors. We cooked veg­e­tar­ian por­ridge for dis­tri­bu­tion. The big event at a tem­ple was at­tended by some 1,000 peo­ple,” said Teh.

A group of 10 to 20 vol­un­teers would visit char­ity cen­tres ev­ery three months. So far, they have made 25 trips.

“We pro­vide food­stuffs, which in­clude daily essentials, to or­phan­ages and old folks homes. We recce which homes need our help and ask for their wish lists So far, the homes had re­quested for food­stuffs, ba­sic essentials for daily liv­ing, and adult di­a­pers for the el­derly,” said Teh, adding that his son, Calvin, 33, would join him once in a while to dis­trib­ute the meals.

Six years ago, Teh passed the hat around and fam­ily mem­bers and rel­a­tives chipped in to buy food to do­nate to char­ity. “It is a good ges­ture to help the needy,” said Teh.

Man­ager Ng Chin Hoe, 56, has been help­ing out at a feed­ing pro­gramme for the past seven years. His wife and teenage son have also joined the pro­gramme or­gan­ised by the Bud­dhist Maha Vi­hara’s in Brick­fields, Kuala Lumpur.

Ev­ery Sun­day, 15 vol­un­teers turn up to help.

“There are two cooks and we help to cut the veg­eta­bles and wash the plates,” said Ng.

By 5.30pm, they would hop into their cars and head for des­ig­nated lo­ca­tions to dis­trib­ute packed meals to the home­less in the city. Four years ago, the al­lo­ca­tion was 90 pack­ets of food. To­day it is dou­ble that num­ber.

“It’s an eye- open­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for my fam­ily to see so many poor folks in the city. There are mi­grants and the el­derly among them,” said Ng.

Teh ( fourth from left) and fel­low vol­un­teers drove to Ulu Ti­ram, Jo­hor, to pre­pare free meals for par­tic­i­pants at an alms- giv­ing cer­e­mony. — TOMMy TEh

Sib­lings Jian Ern ( left) and Jian Ming en­joyed their stint in cam­bo­dia. — Pho­tos: ALViN chEAh

cheah has been reach­ing out to un­der­priv­i­leged com­mu­ni­ties in dif­fer­ent parts of the world.

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