Take whatever you need

Lending a hand: Kamaruddin handing over essential items to a needy family at his house in Parit Buntar. — IMRAN HILMY/The Star

NIBONG TEBAL: A sturdy cupboard outside a house in Parit Buntar near here has been a lifeline for the needy in nearby villages.

Affectionately called Gerobok Rezeki (Cupboard of Blessings), it is stocked with essential items such as flour, rice and cooking oil.

It was set up by former journalist Kamaruddin Shah to ease the burden of the less fortunate in the district.

Anyone in need of supplies can stop by his house, walk up to the Cupboard and take whatever they need.

Kamaruddin, 47, had worked as a reporter with several dailies in Kuala Lumpur and Penang before he decided to switch careers in 2018.

He opted to sell organic fertiliser.

“When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country last year, I felt that I should step forward to help when I saw many families suffering.

“I decided to initiate my own effort to aid this group of people with the help of my family,” he said when met at his house in Parit Buntar.

Kamaruddin also began delivering food packs to neighbouring villages in Kerian district as some of the poor families could not go to his Cupboard of Blessings.

Using his own savings, he would fill up the racks with daily necessities such as sugar, flour, condensed milk and dried noodles for those in need.

He added that sometimes, Good Samaritans would contribute cash to him or supplies to be placed in the cupboard.

“We will ask those who take items from the cupboard to write down their names and addresses so that we can identify the poor,” Kamaruddin said.

His good deeds are not just confined to Parit Buntar, but goes as far as Pantai Remis and Orang Asli villages in Kelantan.

But due to the interstate and inter-district travel ban, his charity work is now focused on Parit Buntar and nearby villages.

Kamaruddin, who has been active in community service since he was in his 20s, said the lockdown meant that he could not raise as much funds as before.

He now depends on the income he earns from selling his fertilisers online.

He has even used some of his i-Sinar withdrawal from the Employees Provident Fund to buy items for the Cupboard of Blessings.

“My objective is simple. If I don’t want to see my own kids go hungry, then other children or elderly people in the community should not go hungry either,” he said.

Some of his friends have pitched in to help.

Kamaruddin said his wife and four children had been very supportive, adding: “They are my backbone. Without them, I am helpless.”

He also encouraged the public to donate to the Cupboard of Blessings, saying that those keen to pitch in could either contribute cash or essential items such as rice.

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