PETALING JAYA: Rising food prices amid global inflation have led to soup kitchens in Malaysia seeing an increase in patrons, especially those from B40 families.
So, to mark World Food Day yesterday, soup kitchens held various initiatives, including a donation drive to help the less fortunate.
As businesses reduce their monetary donations in view of the economic condition, these operators are also exploring various means to sustain themselves.
Kechara Soup Kitchen Society (KSK) operations director Justin Cheah said the number of families they were helping had gone up to 3,200 per month, compared to around 2,000 previously.
He said KSK would be organising a nationwide drive to collect food supplies for the poor and needy for this year’s World Food Day.
“KSK believes there is a strong need to address concerns about food insecurity among those who are in absolute poverty,” he said.
KSK is also collaborating with other food banks around the region, such as Feeding Hong Kong, FoodCycle Indonesia, Green Food Bank China, Rise Against Hunger Philippines, and Scholars of Sustenance (Bali) to raise food and funds in their respective countries throughout October under the “Drive Hunger Away 3” campaign organised by Food Bank Singapore.
Pertiwi soup kitchen founder Datuk Munirah Abdul Hamid said they were seeing more people from the B40 group but fewer of the homeless.
“It works out to almost the same total as before, but the category of homeless and the B40 has shifted.
“Many B40 families are now earning less than before, so we are helping them a lot. Imagine a family of six or eight collecting meals from us twice a day every day, and each meal costs RM5.50. That is how much we are helping some big families,” she said when contacted.
She said they would provide groceries, milk and diapers once a month based on the available budget and distribute them to needy families.
NFN Soup Kitchen head of field operation, Adora Yusof, observed “donor fatigue” among the givers who had used up their resources during dire times.
Additionally, NFN is also seeing more families needing help, even among those with jobs.
“Those who have a job would come and take free food because of their limited wages,” she said.
“They can’t afford food and it’s due to rising prices in the market.”
International World Food Day, celebrated every Oct 16, commemorates the founding date of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation in 1945.