Let the poor eat fish too

Volunteers sorting out the fresh produce for distribution to those in need in Penang.

PENANG’s Mutiara Food Bank initiative has taken a step further to provide vegetables, chicken and fish on top of the usual rations to ensure needy recipients get enough nutrition.

State welfare and environment committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said the food bank had been giving out the extra items when- ever possible besides the usual basics such as rice, noodles, cans of sardine, eggs and some condiments so that those receiving the aid would have complete nutrition such as vitamins and protein.

“We offer the basics to about 200 to 300 families daily but wanted to go further and offer them vegetables and some form of poultry or seafood.

“We reached out to some suppliers in Cameron Highlands and they were kind enough to band together and contribute a whole truck load of vegetables.

“We want to give the families some vegetables instead of just rice and canned food.

Vegetables being transported by van for sorting and distribution.Vegetables being transported by van for sorting and distribution.

“This way, they will have a balanced meal,” he said.

Phee said the fresh vegetables included tomatoes, cabbage, eggplant and beans.

He said the food bank would soon distribute packets of black pomfret.

“We have received 400kg of black pomfret from some donors and will distribute it sometime next week.

“These are items families usually will not buy as they are on the pricey side.

“We want them to enjoy it and have good meals at home,” he said.

Fresh vegetables from Cameron Highlands being placed into individual packs for the needy.Fresh vegetables from Cameron Highlands being placed into individual packs for the needy.

Phee said they would alternate between different food items like chicken and fish.

“These are hardcore poor families who receive welfare aid.

“So we know that they are really in need.

“We provide rations to 1,600 families under the Mutiara Food Bank.

“Their total household income is less than RM1,300 and are classified under the state’s Agenda Ekonomi Saksama (AES).

“We give these families priority but our Village Community Management Councils can reach out to their respective assemblymen if there are other families in need as well,” he said.

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