Groups concerned about the homeless

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 22 Mar 2020

IPOH: Some charity groups here have raised concerns about the well-being of the homeless during the two-week movement control order (MCO) period.

Pay It Forward Ipoh (Pifi) co-founder Susan Ho, 33, said despite the MCO, the group planned on delivering food to the homeless.

“We will take precautions. Usually, we would walk around and give food out but maybe this time we will drive.

“This depends on the MCO itself. For now, we will proceed as planned as the homeless rely heavily on us.

“But we are observing the situation, ” she said in an interview.

Pifi distributes up to 50 packs of food and toiletries to the homeless here every Saturday night.

Ho said the last time they distributed food, the homeless were at the same spot but after the MCO, she was unsure of their whereabouts.

“We are also worried about their health since they do not have enough essentials and don’t have places to store those given to them.

“During the MCO, some of them might lose their source of income.

“We managed to get some donations for the coming serving so we will give them essentials such as biscuits and water bottles.

“It would be great if we can get face masks and hand sanitisers but without sponsorship and stock, it might not be possible, ” she said.

Zeti Shuhaila Mustafa Kamal, co-founder of Dapur Jalanan Ipoh, which distributes food every two weeks at the Dato’ Sagor Ipoh Food Court from 5pm to 7pm, said she saw some homeless people still walking around town after midnight on March 17.

“Since the MCO came into effect, I rarely see them. We are a bit worried about their well-being, considering their age and health condition.

“Our session will still go on as usual but with slight changes. Instead of distributing, we will use the ‘touch and go’ concept.

“Food will be packed together with snacks and drinks before the session.

“Our volunteers will be wearing disposable gloves and face masks. Those who wish to get the food can come but they will be asked to leave immediately as some like to eat together, ” she said.

“The number of volunteers involved will be less than usual. We try to finish the session as soon as we can, ” she said.

A spokesman from the Love Of The Streets, which distributes second-hand clothes to the needy, said it was preparing sanitary kits to be distributed to the homeless after the MCO.

“Right now, we are collecting donations as well as trying to find suppliers for face masks and sanitisers.

“The price for these are quite high and stocks are running low.

“We wanted to give these to the homeless earlier but we could not afford to buy them as donations were running low.

“We are aware of how important these items for the homeless are as they are more exposed to sickness due to their situation.

“We are optimistic that we will be able to get the sanitary kits ready by the end of the MCO, ” she said, adding that the kit would contain at least three pieces of face masks, a bottle of hand sanitiser, a bottle of soap, paracetamol and a shirt.

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