IN THE SPIRIT of doing good deeds and being more charitable during Ramadan, Muslim students Rayanna Abd Rashid and Zahra Sadaghiani decided to sign up as volunteers for the recent Good Day Out event.
The 17-year-old students helped to pack bags of foodstuff and clean up a soup kitchen.
“It is good to give back during the fasting month, which is why we signed up and joined our friends for the volunteer project,” said Zahra.
“We are trying to take the gesture of doing charity to the next level by doing good for the community.
“The tasks are not too difficult and are nothing we cannot do. Hopefully, these acts would go towards making someone else’s day,” said Rayanna.
Good Day Out is a monthly programme under The Star’s ‘Do Good. Volunteer.’ initiative to promote volunteerism among Malaysians and takes volunteers on various volunteering tasks around the city.
The project to assist Grace Community Services’ food bank and soup kitchen for the poor served as an opportunity for a mother-and- daughter pair to bond over a day of volunteering.
Kwang Geok Ling, 53, and Tan Jia Min, 19, were in the group that was tasked to clean and prepare 20 whole chickens for the soup kitchen’s menu of the day.
“It was definitely memorable preparing food on such a large scale and seeing it done,” said Kwang, a teacher.
“It was an eye-opening experience as it was my first time preparing chicken to be cooked, let alone handling 20 birds!” said Tan, who did her share of house chores and assisted her mother in the kitchen.
The Environmental Science undergraduate is no stranger to volunteering as she did a stint with Habitat for Humanity to build decent housing for people in need.
Kwang, whose family enjoys being outdoors, said they would consider volunteering together and even roped in other family members to join them.
Returning volunteer Eric Tung said volunteering was an avenue for him to contribute to society.
“I try to look out for volunteering projects, and Good Day Out matches what I am looking for,” the 30-year-old bank executive said.
“I developed an interest in volunteering after I started working. It’s not too difficult to volunteer just one day a month, and I look forward to continuing with future Good Day Out projects.”
Last weekend’s event also saw the largest number of meals prepared and served to-date at Grace Community Services, with an impressive 409 meals for the needy.
Grace Community Services public relations and fundraising director David Jansen said the food bank and soup kitchen are part of the social initiatives under the organisation, which has various projects to serve the poor and needy regardless of race, creed or religion.
“The food bank is a 10-year-old project that aims to provide basic foodstuff to the poor and needy,” he said.
“We pack food supplies that are distributed to some 400 families around Selangor and Kuala Lumpur every month. These families, which are registered with us, each earn below RM1,000 per month.
“The soup kitchen initiative feeds about 300 individuals comprising orang asli families in Kampung Sungai Judah, Pulau Carey.
“The menu, which is planned one month ahead, is balanced as each packed meal includes one protein dish, one vegetable dish and a fruit.”
Jansen hoped that corporate sponsors such as food manufacturers and distributors would be able to donate or contribute their surplus products and products with damaged packaging to the food bank on a regular basis. The food bank and soup kitchen are based at Grace Community Services’ centre in Klang, which also has a storage space to stock food items.
Volunteers gather there to prepare, cook and pack food for the mobile kitchen every week, and sort and pack foodstuff every month.
“We hope to expand our reach to serve more people, hence we welcome food suppliers and corporations to assist us,” said Jansen.