Every Saturday, the members of Kechara Soup Kitchen, Kuala Lumpur set off to send some simple dishes to homeless vagrants. They have been assisting more than thousand people over the past four years and there are 200 to 300 people have found their own life since then.
Sponsored by kind traders
The person-in-charge of Kechara Soup Kitchen, Xie Guo Liang said that this project was carried out by the volunteers four years ago. Until September this year, they finally have a real “home” lead by Datuk Lin Xiu Yue. Today, all the expenses of Kechara Soup Kitchen are sponsored by kind traders and the public.
Kuala Lumpur Kechara Soup Kitchen was set up in October 2006. Ever since a building belongs to Kechara Soup Kitchen was built, the volunteers have increased the frequency of distributing free meals to hundreds of homeless vagrants and the needy from only on Saturdays in the past to every weekday (Monday to Friday) nowadays at the streets near Jalan Imbi.
Restoring the vagrants' confidence
Even if the volunteers have received countless of cold shoulders, burning satire and freezing irony from the local residents, they still insist on giving the vagrants a hand. They have got a great sense of accomplishment with their great achievement by helping the vagrants to rediscover their families and life goals.
Xie indicated that distributing free meals could build up the confidence of these homeless vagrants regardless of their backgrounds.
They also provide consultation to these vagrants in order to persuade and lead them to the right path.
They have to send those who are suffering from skin diseases or infections to clinics every Saturday as well.
Care not about the critics
Xie pointed out that some of the people accused them of distributing free meals to vagrants or drug addicts as this might make them become more dependent and lazy. As a matter of fact, Xie said that begging food from others involves personal dignity and many vagrants are reluctant to do that unless they are forced to.
He added that by communicating with the vagrants while distributing free meals to them, the volunteers are able to know the temperament, health and stories behind them.
Strong competition from foreign workers
He disclosed that many of the 40 to 50-year-old vagrants who have worked as unskilled workers or cleaners before are unemployed now due to the strong competition from young foreign workers who are willing to receive lower pays.
As majority of homeless vagrants have no family, children, saving and EPF, they are forced to be homeless vagrants.
He thus calls on the public to provide some assistance to them by helping them to regain the hopes in their lives.
For instance, some of the drug addicts being released from prisons or rehabs are not accepted by the society or their families and they are likely to repeat their mistakes again without receiving any appropriate counseling.
Monthly expenditure exceeds RM20,000
The financial controller of Kechara Soup Kitchen, Cai Shang Fen indicated that as they have only limited budget therefore all of the vegetarian meals are outsourced by a vegetarian restaurant and the volunteers would cook rice at 11 every morning.
They would prepare additional meals for the vagrants too if eggs or extra ingredients are provided by traders. The daily meal provided to the vagrants including bread, dry food, drinking water and fruits in order to meet their daily need.
Around dozens to hundred people would come and collect the food and each of the meal costs around RM8.50 and the monthly expenditure costs RM20,000 to RM25,000.
There was once more than 200 people came and collected the meals and they were even from Sri Kembangan, Petaling Jaya and Old Klang Road.
She pointed out that if these people are not settled down or receive a correct guidance, then more social problems will emerge in the future. Therefore, Kechara Soup Kitchen is also hoping to set up another centre other than the one at Jalan Imbi soon. Translated by Lim Liy Ee/ Sin Chew Daily