Free meals fill stomachs and warm hearts

Tharman (left), Wong (in red) and Lee (beside Wong) joining the Annam on Wheels team in distributing packed food to volunteers helping out at refreshment stalls. — Photo: ZAINUDIN AHAD/The Star

VOLUNTEER Dhashini Paloochamy, 30, made her time count by joining the Annam On Wheels initiative to distribute food at the thaneer panthals (refreshment stalls) for Thaipusam.

Putting herself up for only four hours of sleep, the customer service agent joined 20 others in giving out hot meals at Jalan Utama in George Town, Penang, on Thursday.

“To me, it is an enjoyable deed and it helps those of us who join Thaipusam to express our gratitude to the people behind those refreshment stalls, ” she said.

Making their rounds from Jalan Utama towards the Waterfall Temple on a van, they distributed some 2,000 portions of hot coffee, mee hoon, buns and mineral water to the operators and volunteers.

Stall operators S. Mahenderan, 45, said he was touched by the thoughtful act.

“When we finish setting up the stall past midnight, we usually feel hungry and need to drive out to find food, ” he said.

The Annam On Wheels initiative is an annual programme organised by the Malaysia Hindu Sangam Bukit Bendera Council.

Its chairman A. Tharman said this was their fourth year distributing food to the stalls.

Tharman said the council regularly held similar initiatives to provide food for the needy at the Guan Yin Temple in Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling and around Komtar.

Bukit Bendera MP Wong Hon Wai and Pulau Tikus assemblyman Chris Lee Chun Kit, who were present, also helped distribute the food and drinks to the stalls.

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