Fresh fish for the poor

Daily catch: Dr Ko (second from right) distributing fish to those in need. Some of the recipients include old folks’ homes, single mothers and low-income families.

JOHOR BARU: Each day, his family receives about 3,000kg of fresh sea fish for their wholesale business.

So, dermatologist Dr Ko Chun Song decided to have all of it either sold or donated every day when he discovered that many people could not afford to buy fish amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr Ko, 47, kickstarted an initiative in April last year where customers could buy fish from him for nearly half the price to be donated to the poor and underprivileged.

“Donations came pouring in since the first day I started the initiative. Some donated about RM10 worth of fish. There were also customers willing to spend RM1,000 to buy fish for the poor.

“My volunteers would then deliver the fish donated by the customers to those in need. These include people living in old folks’ homes, single mothers, people with special needs and low-income families,” he said.

It all started when Dr Ko, who was working at a hospital in Thailand for over a decade, came back to visit his family here in January last year.

And then the pandemic emerged and he could not return to Bangkok.“My family operates a fish wholesale business and since I could not go back to Thailand, I decided to help with the business,” said Dr Ko, who is married with three children between the ages of eight and 21.

And since then, he found that many people could not afford a number of things, including fresh fish.

So for the past one year, he has been providing up to 1,200kg of fresh fish to needy families to help them cope amid the pandemic.

Dr Ko said times were tough for many and he wanted to help them by selling the fish lower than the market price.

Eventually, a group of volunteers reached out to him, asking whether he could donate some fish to an old folks’ home which had been getting less donations due to the movement control order.

“They brought me to the home and when I saw the dire situation there, I could not help but think of a way to do something about it.

“I know that many people are facing the same problem where food does not come easy for them since the pandemic,” he added.

“The aim is not to make profit but to have all of the fish reach families while they are fresh,” he said, adding that he has 67 volunteers helping to supply the fish.

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