THEY say feeding the hungry is one of the most noble deeds and Sri Agathiar Sanmarka Gurukulam Malaysia is gearing up to feed some 100,000 devotees during Thaipusam this year.
The Thaipusam Food Charity 2015 will be conducted for 37 hours non-stop during the religious festival that draws millions of people.
Association president Panirselvam Batumalai said their intention was to feed all those who are hungry and not only the poor.
“Many people visit Batu Caves during Thaipusam which is in our neighbourhood so we are merely feeding guests who have come to our home,” said Panirselvam, adding that their centre is in Kampung Laksamana in Batu Caves.
For more than 20 years, the association has been feeding the hungry but the journey had not been easy.
Panirselvam said after their fourth year, although they felt the task was too much to bear, the committee felt the need to soldier on.
He said they managed to do it with the help of volunteers who relentlessly toiled behind the stoves and the donations that poured in from the public.
“We are all not professional cooks but our volunteers have learnt the art and are now experts. We also place a lot of importance on cleanliness and even stopped serving food in polystyrene boxes some four years ago,” he added.
The association is one of the first to have environment-friendly methods for serving food.
They aim for a clean and healthy Thaipusam and to have seating arrangements for their diners to enjoy their food served on plates with sheets to ensure hygiene.
Volunteers take turns to wash the plates for the new batch of diners.
“This way we can minimise littering and ensure we contribute to a cleaner environment for devotees during Thaipusam,” Panirselvam added.
They have also adopted the same hygiene concept at the Thaipusam Food Charity in Kuala Selangor where the nasi lemak is wrapped in brown paper. They hope to replace it with banyan tree leaves soon.
About 600 volunteers from the organisation will be on duty that day including several students from SMK Sri Selayang .
However, they are still looking for people to help them with their charity efforts during the festival. Donations in kind and food including rice and mee hoon is also appreciated.
The food charity will begin on Feb 2 afternoon and will continue until the midnight of Feb 3.
To contribute, call at 03-61876773, 012-2019995 (Panirselvam), 012-3016005 (Siva) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.