DESPITE the restrictions faced under the latest movement control order (MCO), Good Samaritans in Penang are still finding time to help the homeless around Komtar in George Town.
Around the Komtar bus terminal, which some 100 needy people call home, good-hearted people often drop by to hand out lunch and dinner boxes.
Salesperson Wang Eng Shin, 35, was seen handing over some 200 lunch boxes and face masks to a long line of people.
Wang visits the area once or twice a week, depending on the amount of funds he and his group mates can collect.
“My friends and I share the funds.
“We have a small group called ‘Buddy Donation’ and we collect funds among ourselves to buy essentials.
“Then a representative will come here to distribute the food and other items.”
Wang said while they had been visiting regularly to distribute food for about a year, the new MCO had made it harder for them to move around.
“Earlier, we were caught by the police and risked getting a fine.
“Fortunately, we were let off with a warning and told to follow all the safety rules while we go about handing out food, ” he said.
Another Good Samaritan, freelance tutor C. Vimalan, 40, said while the MCO might have hampered their initiatives, he was still able to continue distributing food regularly as he lives within 10km of Komtar.
“Since my residence is within the area, I have taken this opportunity to serve food to the homeless, ” he said.
“It is sad that many of them are not getting enough food during this difficult time.
“There are rumours that Good Samaritans will be fined if they try to donate food to them.
“For my own initiative, not many people are joining me this time.
“Therefore, I was able to give only 80 packs of food this time around, ” he said when contacted.
Vimalan visits the Komtar area twice a week and usually distributes food packs, buns, drinks and hand sanitiser.
“But this time, I am giving them only food like nasi lemak, fried eggs and vegetables as I can only afford these now.
“In the past, I used to give them nasi briyani with chicken and vegetables, ” he said.
Meanwhile, a recipient who wished to be known only as Tan, 56, said he was grateful to those who remembered the needy who had to worry about their daily meals.
“I live in Butterworth and I used to work as a coffee shop assistant in Ayer Itam.
“When the MCO started, the coffee shop closed down and now I am stuck around this area.
“With no daily wages, I am worried about my daily meals and even though I found a place to stay temporarily, I could not find a job to pay for my daily expenses.
“As such, I have nothing to eat nowadays.
“All I can do is come here to wait for food distributed by these kind souls daily.
“Unfortunately, I do not have sufficient savings and cannot afford to buy my own meals, ” he said.
Tan hopes he can return to normal life once the pandemic ends by looking for a proper job and earning sufficient income.