NGO treats homeless to Deepavali breakfast for fifth year

Charles (right) distributing food to the homeless at the Kuala Lumpur Transit Centre on Deepavali morning.

DONATIONS to Institut Onn Ja’afar (IOJ), a non-profit organisation that feeds the needy, have reduced drastically since May.

Its chief executive officer Charles Mohan said donors were not able to give much as they too were struggling to stay afloat.

“When times are tough, the first thing to be affected are corporate social responsibility activities, ” he said.

On Deepavali morning, IOJ served breakfast to 50 residents of Kuala Lumpur Transit Centre, which is a temporary shelter for the homeless.

The “Jom Diwali” event, held for the fifth year, was on a smaller scale compared to previous years.

“In 2016, more than 200 people

comprising the homeless and volunteers participated in the event.

“As a result of the standard operating procedures amid the Covid-19 pandemic, we had to keep the numbers small this time and there were no volunteers, ” said Charles.

He said many of the homeless had gained employment after the movement control order (MCO) was implemented in March, thus reducing the numbers putting up at transit centres.

“The Federal Territories Ministry had successfully found jobs for a number of them.”

He said there were about 180 residents at the transit centre before the MCO but the numbers had reduced drastically.

Out of the number, he added, several of them were daily wage workers, such as cleaners.

Since the MCO was implemented, IOJ had distributed more than 8,000 food packets to 850 homeless at the transit centre in Sentul for 104 days.

It also distributed free meals at Sekolah Bimbingan Jalian Kasih, KL Krash Pad, Pusat Asuhan Kanak-kanak and the Karen Myanmar Refugee Learning Centre through its “Jom Breakfast” initiative.

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