WHEN buying yourself a meal, you could buy another for the homeless and needy too by joining the Meals for All programme.
Launched recently, this programme aims to help provide food for the homeless and needy via funds collected from the public.
The food is then cooked at participating restaurants and handed over to participating soup kitchens for distribution to the destitute on the streets.
“For only RM7, the public can help buy the homeless a meal.
“We hope to raise awareness among the public and encourage them to help others by buying the needy a meal,” said Meals for All founder Ramesh Vadiveloo.
He was inspired by the concept of “suspended coffee” in Italy and decided to adapt the concept here and change it to meals instead of coffee.
In Italy, the suspended coffee concept works with the public buying an extra cup of coffee for the needy when buying one for themselves.
A homeless or needy person who enters the cafe can then claim the coffee that has already been paid for by a kind soul.
“We are now working with two restaurants — Frontera Sol of Mexico and White Jacket Caterers.
“With every RM7 they collect from their customers for the Meals for All programme, they will prepare a meal and give it to soup kitchens who will distribute it to the homeless,” he said.
Currently, three soup kitchens are working with them, namely Kechara Soup Kitchen, Need to Feed the Need and Dapur Jalanan.
Next year, Ramesh aims to get 10 more restaurants to join the programme.
Started in July this year, the programme has so far helped produce about 2,500 meals for the needy.
“We think this programme is important as it can help the soup kitchens sustain for much longer and get proper restaurants to prepare food for the needy,” he said.
Some of the soup kitchen operators either raise funds themselves, fork it out of their own pockets or cook the meals themselves.
Also present during the launch was Kechara Soup Kitchen president Datuk Ruby Khong, Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir and Espero PR chief executive officer Suhana Abdul Kadir.
Suhana, who is also a lecturer at IACT college, helped realise Ramesh’s goal to set up the programme.
She also led her students from an Event Management and Planning class to follow Kechara for a street feeding session for the homeless recently.
“Our students are more aware of the issues of the homeless and they initiated a Hope Box, which has all the necessary essentials such as toiletries,” she said.
Suhana added that her students came up with this idea after seeing the homeless on the streets and they wanted to do more than just feed them.
For a pledge of RM100 from the public, the homeless will get a box filled with clothes, towel, toiletries and medicine.
“So far we have got pledges for 181 boxes since we started last month (October).
“We will get Kechara to help us distribute it to those who really need the items and the medicines will be stored and given to the needy through Kechara’s ambulance services,” she said.
Those who would like to help by pledging for a Hope Box or buy the homeless a meal can either visit Frontera in Jaya One Petaling Jaya, visit https://www.facebook.com/MealsForAll or email to email@example.com