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‘Over-feeding’ the homeless now a problem

 | June 6, 2016

Soup kitchens and NGOs speak about food wastage as they try to help the needy - a problem which is expected to get worse this fasting month.

Munirah-Abdul-Hamid

PETALING JAYA: The increase in the number of soup kitchens catering to the homeless in the city has resulted in food wastage, a problem that is expected to get worse during the fasting month of Ramadan.

The problem has been attributed to the lack of coordination among organisations and ad-hoc groups that have flocked to feed the homeless after a soup kitchen ban in the city in 2014 was rolled back.

This has translated into more food being delivered for distribution to the homeless than can be eaten – which means a homeless person can get up to four or five packets of food per meal if he or she goes to different areas, said a report in the New Straits Times (NST) today.

The issue is expected to become more acute during the fasting month, when many more people seek to do good by handing out food to the underprivileged.

To nip this problem in the bud, some organisations have ceased carrying out street feeding while some well-established soup kitchens are scaling down their food distribution.

Pertiwi Soup kitchen founder Munirah Abdul Hamid related to the English daily the numerous occasions when groups of volunteers set up camps beside those set up by her people, and would get angry when told to move to another site.

She said handing out food packets to the homeless was more than meets the eye, with volunteers engaging with the recipients to get more information about their problems so help could be extended to them.

Kechara Soup kitchen director Justin Cheah concurred with Munirah, saying they tried to help the homeless by getting them jobs and seeing to their medical needs, apart from providing them with food.

Alexander Jayadass, co-founder and president of Street Feeders of KL said they used a different approach to prevent wastage in that his group of volunteers handed out buns, bottled water, biscuits and snacks instead of foods that perished quickly like noodles and nasi lemak.


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