Community

Friday, 17 March 2017

When overfeeding leads to wastage

There is a need for proper coordination among NGOs when feeding the homeless in the city. — Photos: M. Azhar Arif/ The Star

There is a need for proper coordination among NGOs when feeding the homeless in the city. — Photos: M. Azhar Arif/ The Star

GOOD Samaritans are often found offering food to the homeless, but because of a lack of proper coordination on some occasions, these people end up getting too much food, sometimes even three feeds an hour.

So apart from assisting soup kitchens in their activities, Malaysians who want to help these people can do much more such as providing clothes, toiletries, blankets, medical checks and supplements.

Mohd Ashraff Khan Md Najib, founder of Empire Project, an organisation that provides food to the homeless, said Malaysians were offering food to the homeless as they found it to be the most important aid.

“However, they do not realise that we already have a few organisations which feed at different times and days.

“Sometimes, double or even triple feeding happens, which creates food wastage as groups would usually serve heavy food such as rice dishes at midnight or 1am.

Non-governmental organisations distributing food to the homeless in several areas.
Nongovernmental organisations distributing food to the homeless in several areas.

“The homeless can’t keep the food overnight so in the end, it is wasted ,” he said when met at Dataran Masjid Negara with 12 non-governmental organisations which feed the homeless.

They covered areas near Dataran Masjid Negara, Mydin KL, Dataran Maybank and Bangkok Bank.

Mohd Ashraff said they would like to highlight the need for proper coordination to assist the homeless as they required a lot more than just food.

“There are many other ways to help them such as providing them toiletries, a place to stay or even a job,” he said, adding that volunteers could offer the homeless guidance and cheer them up.

He said people could also spend time with the homeless like playing indoor games.

Twelve NGOs came together to feed and to interact with the city‘s homeless.
Twelve NGO s came together to feed and to interact with the city‘s homeless.

Street Feeders of Kuala Lumpur president Rubian Ho said they started playing indoor games with the homeless last week.

“We play games such as snakes and ladders, Chinese checkers, congkak and batu seremban,” she said, adding that games were an ice-breaker and were especially effective for volunteers who were not able to connect with the homeless initially.

“Interaction doesn’t come easy for everyone and games make it easier,” she said.

Ho said it was easy to give food but what was important was establishing a connection with the homeless.

“It is truly a good feeling whenever they recognise us during our rounds.

Mohd Ashraff giving out buns to the homeless in the city.
Mohd Ashraff giving out buns to the homeless in the city.

“They are human, we should give our love and care and listen to their stories,” she said.

Happy Caring Hearts Crews (HCHC) co-founder Jennifer Chua said many soup kitchens served food regularly.

“Food for them is just a way to build rapport with the homeless in order to know how they can get them off the streets.

“It would be great if the people can liaise and work with the present soup kitchens,” she said.

Other NGOs who took part in the food distribution on Monday are iCareBearz, Humanity, Kindness Malaysia, Mustard Seed Soup Kitchen, SFOKL, KL Sikhs, Viva Starfish, Metta, Misi SJ and NGOHub.

Pertiwi Soup Kitchen distributing food at Dataran Masjid Negara.
Pertiwi Soup Kitchen distributing food at Dataran Masjid Negara.

Pertiwi Soup Kitchen founder Datuk Munirah Abdul Hamid said much more needs to be done beyond feeding the homeless.

“We must look at the source of the problem, one of which are the families living in the PPR flats.

“Each time I am invited to speak, I emphasise on what universities and corporate groups can do.

“Adopt a block of PPR flats. It is akin to looking after a kampung,” she said.

She said people could organise football or badminton matches for the children.

Representatives from KL Sikhs giving out buns and water bottles to the homeless at a location in the city centre.
Representatives from KL Sikhs giving out buns and water bottles to the homeless at a location in the city centre.

“Teach the fathers how to earn money and be enterprising. They can be plumbers, mechanics or electricians,” she added.

For details on the schedule on street feeding, visit http://ngohub.asia/streetfeeding.php

Tags / Keywords: Central Region , Family Community , empire project , street feeding

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