KUALA LUMPUR: With the movement control order (MCO) extended indefinitely, many have been struggling to put food on the table and suicide rates are at a worrying rate.
Food banks have been emerging all over the country, offering grocery packs and actively seeking out houses waving white flags.
One food truck in Pandan Indah, however, has made waves on social media for providing handouts of a different variety – packs of cat and dog kibble, along with canned pet food.
Business partners Chan Wai Yee and So Huey Peng run a Golden Potato food truck selling fried sweet potato balls, a popular Taiwanese snack.
They observed the growing number of food banks and decided to start one of their own, initially providing essentials such as rice and flour.
But it occurred to Chan, who has two dogs, that pets could be suffering as well.
“I worried that people might abandon their animals since they are unable to feed themselves, let alone their pets,” she tells FMT.
Realising that no one else was organising a pet food bank, Chan brought up the idea to So, who was immediately on board.
“I needed to gauge the public’s response and see if it would take off,” says Chan, who regularly feeds stray dogs but has been unable to do so since the lockdown.
The women used their own funds to buy bags of kibble and canned food, then set up a sign – “Animal Food Bank” – and wrote a social media post alerting those with trouble feeding their pets to visit their food truck.
The response, it turns out, was overwhelming. Chan says many people came by to pick up pet food, including representatives of NGOs who used the freebies to feed strays.
But she laments that due to travel restrictions, not everyone is able to visit them in Pandan Indah, and they are currently unable to deliver the items to those in need.
Regardless of the success of their animal initiative, Chan and So have not strayed far from their original goal – they continue to set aside provisions for hungry Malaysians.
Chan says they have received requests from members of the public asking how they can help. She and So welcome contributions in any shape or form for their human and pet food bank.
Their Golden Potato business has dropped a whopping 70% due to the MCO, but the women have no plans of giving up the food truck and say they will persevere with their efforts for both two- and four-legged recipients.
“Our aim is to help people and animals,” Chan concludes. “We will brave this pandemic no matter what.”
If you need food for your family or pets, visit the Golden Potato food truck located in front of Restoran Nine Eight Nine Eight in Pandan Indah.
To make a contribution, contact Chan Wai Yee at 012-2213455 or drop the duo a message via Facebook.
Jalan Pandan Indah 4/1
56100 Ampang, Selangor
Operating hours: 10am-8pm daily