SUBANG JAYA: Daycare centre operator Zalina Zakaria struggles to hold back her tears when she recalls how she could not afford to pay her teachers’ salaries during the lockdown earlier this year.
“Most of the teachers here are young and they need their salaries to survive but we just couldn’t afford to pay them,” she said.
They would recover somewhat when school reopened but it wasn’t long before the government announced another partial lockdown for the Klang Valley.
Having been in the shoes of the less fortunate before, Zalina, who runs Amazing Seed Educare and Enrichment Centre here, knew many would struggle again.
This time around, they were not as badly affected as before. So, while classes continued, she and her teachers had a lot more free time.
They decided to use this spare time to help the people by being productive and settled on the idea of cooking and distributing food to those in need, with just RM200 for capital, and their time and energy.
“We cook in our school’s kitchen. We plan a menu based on the budget we have and we cook together,” she said, adding they typically cooked meals with one meat and one vegetable.
The packets of food are distributed for free outside the daycare centre before lunch.
On average, they can prepare 50 to 80 packs of food, depending on how much money they have for the day.
“Thank God, once news about what we were doing got out, people stepped up to contribute.”
Zalina said while the free food was for all, their target was those really in need.
“We don’t know if someone, even if he or she drives a car, has food at home. If they need it (the food), they can take it. We share what we have.
“Our hope is that when school reopens, and we can afford it in terms of time and energy, we can continue this initiative with the help of others.”