Thursday, October 7, 2010


Thanks to Kechara Soup Kitchen (KSK) in Jalan Imbi, the homeless, the jobless and the hungry now have a place to go to for a hot meal. Barely a month at its new premises, KSK is already drawing long queues every weekday from 11am to 1pm. The menu changes each day depending on what KSK receives from the sponsors. On the day that I visited, each client received not only a generous portion of steaming hot rice with two vegetable dishes, but also a bag containing a loaf of bread, biscuits, a packet drink, a bottle of mineral water and a fruit.

 Volunteers busy preparing hot meals and food bags.
 Continuous stream of people queuing up for food at the soup kitchen.
  KSK's modest medical consultation cum counselling room.
Here's KSK Project Director Justin Cheah doing the laundry for the homeless. This is truly service beyond self.

On Saturday nights, KSK volunteers go out in teams of 3-5 to pre-designated areas e.g. Chow Kit, Pudu Market, Petaling Street, Brickfields and Bukit Bintang, to distribute meals and food packages. Last Saturday blankets were also among the items distributed to the homeless. That night it was cold and wet after hours of heavy rain. The blankets were heaven-sent to those who received them.

 Many hands make fast work. Volunteers busy preparing the food items for the Saturday night distribution routes.
Almost ready to go. Note the blankets to be given away as well.

For these homeless street people their beds are cardboard pieces, and the clothes on their backs are the only ones they have. None of those that I gave food to asked whether the food was halal, whether the sponsors were Christian, Muslim or Buddhist, or whether the gift packages were bought with money from gambling revenues. These were of little significance to them.

The hungry, poor and homeless don't ask questions. They are grateful for what they receive. Neither do KSK volunteers ask the clients for their personal particulars. They are happy to serve all, regardless of race, creed or religion. (Note: KSK serves only vegetarian meals.)

The story behind Kechara is closely tied to its founder and spiritual guide H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche who first visited Malaysia in 1992. Today, 18 years down the road, Kechara continues to grow from strength to strength. It now has 13 departments ranging from publications to lodgings, and has plans to add more over the next few years. KSK's long-term goal is to set up a Nurture Centre where the homeless will be trained and equipped with skills to enable them to find jobs.

Volunteers listen to a briefing before setting off on the night rounds. They are taught how best to approach the homeless, and how to offer assistance if required.

Kechara's website is a veritable treasure-house of everything you may want to know about the organization, and more. Check it out and be amazed at what Kechara has achieved in such a short period of time.

If you would like to help out at the soup kitchen or on the food distribution routes, please contact Justin Cheah at +6012 203 2135 or email him at Kechara also welcomes sponsorship for its food programme. Click here for Kechara's wish list.

1 comment:

Chloe Adams said...
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