Bringing festive cheer to the poor

Murugiah (second left) and other Penang Hindu Association members presenting the Deepavali aid to recipients at the Penang Hindu Endowment Board hall in George Town. — Photos: CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

WITH the Covid-19 pandemic making life harder for those in the B40 category, a helping hand is always welcome, especially during festivals.

Penang Hindu Association helped over 83 families by donating goodies worth more than RM200 each during its annual Deepavali aid event.

At the event, its deputy president Dr S. Balasubramaniam spoke about growing up underprivileged and having to hold multiple jobs including gardening and cleaning toilets.

Dr Balasubramaniam shared how his hard work led him to complete two degrees and a doctorate.

“Discipline, time management, cleanliness and a healthy diet are needed to persevere and go forward in life, ” he said during the ceremony held at the Penang Hindu Endowment Board hall in Macalister Road.

Cleaner N. Kalyni, 63, who was at the event with her six-year-old granddaughter

K. Mushantiinii, said the rations would be used to prepare their daily meals.

“We usually do not celebrate Deepavali.

“My household has only the two of us and my other children come to visit once in a while.

“I will just cook some chicken curry and we will both stay at home, ” she said.

Kalyni added that the rations given would last them for quite a while.

Kalyni and granddaughter Mushantiinii checking the rations they received.Kalyni and granddaughter Mushantiinii checking the rations they received.

Association president P. Murugiah said the goodies were mostly sponsored by companies and individuals.

“We originally prepared goodie bags for 60 families but more families turned up.

“We will give them rations as well, ” he said.

Murugiah shared that the bags contained essential items like rice, milk powder, milk for babies, cooking oil and salt.

The goodie bags also contain curry power and murukku mix for Deepavali.

“A sponsor even provided Indian sweets for the families, ” said Murugiah.

He said that all of the families chosen were struggling to make ends meet.

“These families live in a single bedroom.

“Some of them do not have electricity or have not paid their bills in months.

“We even looked into their personal needs and have helped them with the payments through well-wishers.

“Our aim is to encourage them to build better lives.

“We want to see them come up in life and not have them come back here every year.

“Many of the families have young children.

“We want the kids to become professionals and have good lives, ” he said.

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