Times may be tough and while most can still go on with their daily lives in Petaling Jaya city, there are those who are in dire need of help.
To help lift their spirits and fill their stomachs, Petaling Jaya resident Tan Yew Leong has dedicated his time to distributing leftover bakery pastries to the needy.
He collects them for free from the D&D Bakery Sdn Bhd at Jalan SS20/11, Damansara Utama six times a week to hand them out.
Tan, who sells poultry in the Section 17 Petaling Jaya market, distributes to shelter homes, poor families and those living at PPR Kota Damansara.
He first approached the previous management of the bakery, called the Bang Bang Bakery & Cake House back then, about his intentions five years ago.
“I used to deliver chicken from the market to the bakery.
“One day, I saw them throw away the baked items from their shop into the dustbin,” he said.
“I was shocked. The bakery only serves fresh products so they throw away those that are over a day old.
“These were not expired items and they still tasted fine,” added Tan.
The bakery changed management recently and the new owner was interested in continuing with Tan’s charity efforts.
Tan added the bakery owners were kind and with some trust and faith between both parties, they have been able to reach out to the needy.
He said the shelter homes for children and senior citizens are short on donations these days.
“A little help such as distribution of food is highly appreciated by the needy,” he said.
Among the areas Tan visits on a rotation basis were Jalan Templer, PJ Old Town, Taman Sea, Taman Megah and Kota Damansara.
StarMetro accompanied Tan to PPR Kota Damansara one evening to get a glimpse of his distribution activity.
The flat is known for its poor urban settlers.
At 9.30pm, Tan was at the D&D Bakery. He packed about four large baskets of pastries with the help of the bakery workers and placed it in his car booth.
On that particular day, there was also a birthday cake donated by the bakery.
Mothers and children in their pyjamas excitedly greeted Tan once he arrived at the flats.
They quickly lined up and took turns to take the items brought.
Later, Tan lit the candles on the cake and the ladies had a small Mothers Day celebration.
According to Tan, on most days, he would hand the gathered pastries to a reliable resident representative for distribution at these locations.
One such representative is Norsahura Mohamad.
She lives at the PPR Kota Damansara and would distribute the pastries from door to door at her flat.
“I will not go to the same houses so that everyone will get their turn,” said Norsahura.
Another representative is Khadijah Samad and she distributes the pastries to children before they head to schools.
D&D Bakery manager Lim Say Chau, 26, said breads, buns, desserts, puff pastries, cookies and birthday cakes were among the items donated six times a week.
The sales at the bakery could be unpredictable and some days may have more unsold items compared to others.
“Sometimes when it rains or during school holidays, there will be fewer customers which would result in more unsold food but generally, we will have extra to give Tan,” said Lim.
The common practice in most bakeries was as evening approaches, the leftovers would be sold at a discounted rate.
However, at D&D Bakery, most of the leftovers will be donated through Tan.
“We donate an average of RM500 worth of pastries on a daily basis.
“These pastries are in good condition and we would rather give them to charity than throw them away,” Lim said.
He added that the bakery felt it was important to donate to the needy and would keep the practice going.