Place for hot meals and care
> Kechara Soup Kitchen provides food, medical assistance to the homeless, urban poor
KUALA LUMPUR: As a disheveled man enters the premises of Kechara Soup Kitchen, Justin Cheah quickly grabs a pack of the packed lunch and hands it to the man.
Cheah, 41, who works with Kechara full-time, said the man is mentally unsound and comes regularly for his meals at the kitchen.
The biggest challenge, Cheah said, is dealing with the mentally unsound.
“The hospitals have limited space to keep them for treatment. Often, families cannot handle a mentally unstable person and they will give up, so where else can they go but the streets.”
Cheah said the non-religious community action group relies on volunteers for about 90% of its daily operations, which are often more than just feeding the homeless and the urban poor.
Kechara prepares about 200 packs of food daily for the homeless who start lining up at about 11am for their meals.
“The homeless and the urban poor come in for lunch and to do their laundry. We also provide medical assistance,” he added.
Although Kechara does not have a full-time doctor, the staff take blood pressure readings, and if needed, take the person for medical attention at a nearby clinic or Hospital Kuala Lumpur.
Cheah said when necessary, Kechara will pay for the treatment.
“Sometimes (we have) no choice. People with all kinds of ailments come to the kitchen seeking help.”
Cheah said there was a homeless woman who had pus oozing from her body which had a horrible stench.
“She had stage four breast cancer and her breast had ruptured.
“She also seemed to have lost her memory,” he said.
“Working with the National Registration Department, we managed to trace her brother who is now taking care of her.”
Cheah says Kechara prepares about 200 packs of food daily.