Ali comes in like clockwork at 11.30am from Monday through to Friday and at 5pm on Saturdays at our distribution centre on Jalan Imbi. Ali has been a familiar face at Kechara Soup Kitchen since the last two years. An aged man of about 75 years. He queues patiently, but with a seemingly permanent frown. His eyes open wide though to stare at anyone that merely looks his way. Not in a predatory way though. Not in an angry way. Just observing, intently.
Kechara Soup Kitchen has been serving marginalised communities for the last 13 years, that include the homeless, urban poor and Orang Asli populations. Working towards a nation of less homelessness, hunger, poverty, food wastage and a better quality of life, the volunteers at Kechara Soup Kitchen work tirelessly six days a week to serve a balanced midday meal to their a hundred twenty guests that come in each day.
Justin Cheah, Director of Operations at KSK, said, “We have been fortunate with having enough volunteers. Even in tough times, we work side by side with retired civil servants, young people who have a passion for giving back, and some who want work experience as part of their road to getting off the streets.” But just like every other business that suffered through this pandemic, KSK has been faced with a number of challenges since early 2020.
With more people to serve than ever before, and the scarcity of donations since the pandemic early last year, KSK is stretching their limits.
There are about 9,500 others like Ali who have registered with KSK, and 143 single mothers and at-risk women who seek help to upskill themselves through the empowerment programme.
Krishnan, who manages the food distribution programme, and loves talking to people has often caught Ali’s eye. On a day when things were a little slow, Krishnan struck a conversation with Ali.
“Hi, sir. Is there anything else I can get for you?” asked Krishnan in Malay.
Ali’s lips didn’t budge from the downward arch.
Krishnan assumed Ali was hard of hearing and repeated the question a little louder.
Ali held up two fingers.
“Can I have two packets? One for later,” Ali replied. The conversation still in Malay.
“Sure!” Krishnan quipped. After all, it was an unusually slow day and there were a few extra packets. Krishnan was glad to be able to do something small for him. And more so that Ali’s face had softened. His eyes too. They weren’t so intense. Ali still wasn’t smiling though, but that was alright.
Ali spent the next few minutes sharing the cause of the sadness apparent through his eyes and on his lips.
Ali’s story of being neglected by his children at the death of his wife is not new. There are hundreds, if not thousands, like Ali. The stories may not all be the same, but they share similarities in abandonment, neglect and deprivation.
To help close the gap, and to continually be able to help people like Ali, Vettons, the technology and digital ecosystems provider, offered to carry care packages for as low as RM50 on their app to help with basic necessities. From rice and chocolate malt drinks to nasi lemak paste and coconut milk, the care packages carry a combination of the most in-demand basics from popular food brands.
As Ali turned away with both packets of food in hand, Krishnan swore he saw a smile on his face.
Life is hard enough, it does not have to be worse for Ali and others like him. While he has been serving KSK for almost two years now, Krishnan is continually in awe by these small moments, made of nothing but a few minutes, where real life is shared through the delivery window at KSK.
Berikan semangat melalui senyuman kepada seseorang yang layak mendapatkannya. Muat turun aplikasi Vettons di Google Play atau Apple Playstore, cari CARE Package dan pilih Kechara Soup Kitchen sebelum buat pembayaran.