Gestures from the heart

An earlier picture showing Haslinda's team preparing the ingredients in the kitchen. To ensure food safety, they put on a mask and glove during the process now.

PETALING JAYA: Heart-warming stories abound about Malaysians reaching out to help fellow citizens cope with the Covid-19 outbreak.

For instance, a caterer is providing free food for hospital staff.

“It all started when I first sent 60 packed meals to the hospitals, ” said Haslinda Rahman, 42.

“It was shared on social media and some friends and even strangers started contacting me, expressing their willingness to chip in financially.

“More requests for meals also came in from different departments in the hospitals, as they faced lots of difficulties getting food from outside in view of the MCO (movement control order).

“Right now, we prepare 300 packed meals everyday with delivery to three hospitals, ” she said in an interview.

Her husband, she said, would start preparations at 3am, together with another cook and two other assistants.

The packed meal, said Haslinda, consisted of rice with three dishes.

“We make sure the ingredients are fresh and we keep our kitchen team small to maintain hygiene.

“It is our small gesture to support our fellow Malaysians to beat this virus. Together, we can do it, ” she said.

But the “small gesture” made a huge impact among hospital staff, who voiced their gratitude on Haslinda’s cafe Instagram page.

“Thank you, puan, for appreciating us. Team basement HUKM, ” someone wrote.

Another post said: “Many more of us here – whether in the basement, frontline, sideline or under the hot tent – are grateful to you.”

In Kuching, education consultant Sarah Lasung reached out on Facebook to offer to do grocery runs for the elderly and less mobile after seeing similar initiatives in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

“The real push to start was when I saw my friend in Penang starting something for those at her apartment, ” she said.

Sarah’s post was shared by her friends, one of whom went on to inspire her church members to step up and volunteer.

Initially, she was worried about struggling to cope with requests and was thankful when others started coming forward to help.

“I knew I wasn’t alone then, ” she said.

“But I’m also not surprised because I have grown up in this city and have been on the receiving end of many kind-hearted individuals.

“So when people started helping, I knew this is the Kuching I have come to love so much.”

Sarah, who has done four deliveries so far, said that she complied with the MCO by running the errands quickly.

“I don’t have physical contact with the other person.

“I bring along a hand sanitiser and use it before delivering the groceries and after getting back into my car, ” she said.

Another good deed was shown by a petrol station in Petra Jaya where operator Bisnu Majnis provided a handwashing station next to the fuel pumps for its customers.

“We provide clean water, soap and tissue which we hope our customers will use. This will be faster than having to go to the washroom.

“We also make sure that the fuel pump nozzles are sanitised and that all contact points are cleaned throughout the day, ” he said.

A supermarket also offered to arrange delivery of essential groceries for those who are frail.

“Dear Kuching citizens, we will use whatever resources available to us and try to help as many people as we can during this difficult time.

“We may not be able to help everyone but we will try our best. Let’s get through this together, ” it said on Facebook.

In Melaka, chef Ibrahim Hamzah launched an initiative which allows those in need to have packed meals at whatever price they can afford.

“They can also opt to pay later when they have the money.

“I wish to reach out to those who live hand to mouth, ” said Ibrahim, 34.

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