Food bank saves essential items from going to waste

Roslee (second from right), Tan (third from right), Lim (in green jacket) and Ramkarpal with villagers at the Sungai Gelugor MPKK hall. — CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

SINCE January, Mutiara Food Bank has rescued close to 95,000kg of vegetables and over 36,500kg of pastries, mostly bread, preventing these from going to landfills in Penang.

Mutiara Food Bank chief operating officer Noor Zamzuraida Nordin said other than vegetables and pastries, it also received canned goods that were close to their expiry date and essential items such as rice and cooking oil.

“We collect these items from various supermarkets and wholesalers and distribute them to the various Mutiara Food Bank locations in 22 constituencies statewide on a monthly basis.

“Currently, we only have 22 active Mutiara Food Banks, the other 18 constituencies have yet to apply to the state to set up such a food bank,” she said after distributing 332kg of vegetables to about 100 individuals from the B40 group at the Sungai Gelugor Village Community Management Council (MPKK).

Also present at the event were Penang social development, welfare and non-Islamic religious affairs committee chairman Lim Siew Khim, Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh, Seri Delima assemblyman Connie Tan Hooi Peng and MPKK chairman Roslee Ahmad.

Lim, in her speech, said she was glad that a food bank was established in Sungai Gelugor as this would help her B40 constituents to reduce their monthly food costs.

“The vegetables, which were donated by a Lotus’s retail supermarket nearby, may not look so fresh but they are still edible.

“Other than distributing the vegetables, we also gave out 60 boxes containing rice and other essential items to senior citizens and OKU (person with disability) card holders,” she said.

She added that an arch would be installed at the area’s main entrance to brighten up the place and give villagers a sense of belonging.

“During festive seasons, the arch can be beautified with lights,” she said.

Ramkarpal said details were still being worked out but they hoped to have the arch up in about six months.

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