Pilferers take charity meals meant for the poor

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 01 Oct 2017

Dashed hope: The smashed glass door of the fridge called ‘Love and Hope Port’.

BUTTERWORTH: For five months, a glass door “fridge for the poor” outside a cake shop made many people happy, and kept them fed, until greedy people literally smashed a good thing.

Kind souls kept it stocked daily with cakes, sandwiches, fruits, milk and nasi lemak for poor families and beggars to eat for free.

The founders “christened” it the “Love and Hope Port” as it was less than 2km from Penang Port’s facilities.

But greedy people learned of the free food and began checking the fridge almost every hour, and if there was food in there, they picked it clean.

Unable to stand seeing the donated food carted away, the founders locked the fridge, passing the key to the needy when they came.

This stopped the pilferers until last Sunday night when they smashed the glass door and emptied the fridge for the last time.

This community service was started by Layer Gene Cafe proprietor Lee Chee Chiang, 27, and his neighbour, Tong Seng Hainanese Chicken Rice shop co-owner Raymond Lee, 31, in Taman Tanjung here.

Raymond said they put the fridge outside in early May for the poor in the neighbourhood as they often went to his shop when it was near closing time looking for leftovers.

“When we prepare our chickens in the back kitchen, one or two birds are sometimes stolen.

“People who must steal food are not bad. It just means they really are hungry,” he said yesterday.

Raymond said Good Samaritans came from as far as Kulim, Kedah, to help keep the fridge stocked.

In about a month, though, he said: “Some people took turns coming by on motorcycles or in cars to check on the fridge almost every hour.

“They brought big plastic bags and took everything away.

“Our hearts broke when the poor dropped by and found the fridge empty.”

In mid-July, Raymond said they wrapped a padlocked chain around the fridge.

With the fridge smashed, Raymond said they realised it will not work and will not replace the fridge.

“But we won’t let a few bad apples make us lose faith in humanity.

“We’ll think of another way to make sure the poor will have something to eat.”

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