Onn Ja’afar Institute (IOJ), a non-profit organisation that provides temporary relief and material aids for the poor and vulnerable, is giving out free breakfasts to underprivileged students of Sekolah Bimbingan Jalinan Kasih (SBJK) in Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur, with Jom Bekpes.
IOJ chief executive officer Charles Mohan said the organisation was focusing on children in its 2017 campaign by extending its reach with fortnightly breakfasts, after a successful run that began in February last year.
“It is the second season for ‘Jom Bekpes’, which we started by distributing breakfasts to the homeless in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Jalan Hang Lekiu and at the Homeless Transit Centre in Jalan Pahang, Kuala Lumpur.
“The response last year was good as we started by giving away 170 food packages but by the 25th week, the number had increased to 500,” he said.
He said IOJ opted to distribute breakfast to the government-sponsored school for underprivileged children to make sure the aid went to people who needed it most.
“Since some of the children stay in school until evening, we want to provide a nutritious meal to the children to sustain them throughout the day.
“We are also looking to increase the programme frequency from twice monthly to maybe three or four times a month,” he said on the future of the campaign.
Each fortnightly session held every first and third Wednesday of the month throughout the year is hosted by student volunteers from public and private universities.
The programme was launched last week with the involvement of Ramsay Sime Darby Healthcare College students.
Principal of the free school for underprivileged children, Zulkernai Fauzi, said the campaign was welcome.
“The school takes care of about 140 students aged four to 19, preparing four meals a day for the children. With IOJ’s help, we are able to give them a more balanced diet.
“This will keep the students going for longer as they usually do not get much to eat at night after school,” he added.
Lending a hand to conduct Jom Bekpes at SBJK were 50 students from Ramsay Sime Darby Healthcare College. They started at 5am with a trip from their campus in Shah Alam to IOJ in Petaling Jaya, to pack 500 breakfast meals for distribution, said volunteer Jumatiah Osman, 20.
Volunteer Preathia Dashini A. Ganesan, 19, was also excited at being able to share a little bit of happiness with the SBJK students.
“The Jom Bekpes programme definitely provided a new experience to me as a volunteer,” she said.
As IOJ places importance on engaging youths in volunteerism, the non-profit organisation has partnered with 25 private and public universities with over 1,000 student volunteers for the campaign to bring the most important meal of the day to people who need it.