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'Over-Feeding' It is a Problem among The Homeless in Malaysia

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The homeless in Malaysia are constantly hungry for food, or are they? In 2016, a new problem arose besides homelessness, the one Malaysia already faces, which is food wastage. And because hundreds of children in third world countries die of starvation, food is such a dear thing to be discarded uneaten.

This new problem is due to the fact that there are several soup kitchens and numerous non-governmental organizations (NGOs) distributing food at the same time, resulting in the homeless getting multiple packets of food at a single meal time.

They cannot possibly finish eating all the food packets they obtain from different soup kitchens and NGOs, and keeping the food for later would only spoil the food, hence, they simply wind up in the rubbish bin.

Now, there are a few solutions to this problem and they are rather simple. First of all, the soup kitchens and NGOs must have better coordination. They ought to interact with each other and organize a proper schedule to distribute the food.

This way the homeless will only get one food packet at a meal time. They could also distribute the food at locations farther from each other, assuring that the same homeless person will not get food from another source nearby.

Another solution is to help the homeless in other ways. It could be as great as providing them with jobs or offering medical services such as the efforts of Pertiwi Soup Kitchen and Kechara Soup Kitchen or as simple and sweet as entertaining the homeless by playing indoor games with them such as the endeavours of the volunteers of Street Feeders of Kuala Lumpur as said by their president, Rubian Ho, “We play games such as snakes and ladders, Chinese checkers, congkak and batu seremban,” She later added that games are a nice ice-breaker for a friendly connection between volunteers and the homeless.

There is another means of solving this issue and that is by having the NGOs and soup kitchens offering food that last longer.

Street Feeders of KL co-founder and president, Alexander Jayadass, mentioned that his group has stopped giving out nasi lemak and mee hoon which only lasts a couple of hours but has instead provided the homeless with bottled water, biscuits and buns.

These foods do not perish quickly meaning they can be kept overnight.

As for the average citizens, they should stop thinking that they must distribute food as a wonderful way to aid the homeless. They should leave this job to the soup kitchens and NGOs which are more organized than they are.

Yes, during the Ramadan month everyone wishes to give back to the society, but there are various other ways to do so. They can donate to the homeless their unused clothes and blankets or provide toiletries and supplements.

It is a massive conundrum to have a problem on top of another. Solving the matter swiftly is indeed necessary. Therefore, every Malaysian, either volunteers for soup kitchens and NGOs or mere citizens, ought to work together in a more strategic and harmonious manner to better benefit everyone.  

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References:

https://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/06/150013/soup-kitchens-must-prevent-wastage

https://www.thestar.com.my/metro/community/2017/03/17/when-overfeeding-leads-to-wastage-volunteers-can-instead-spend-time-with-homeless-through-interactio/

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2016/06/06/over-feeding-the-homeless-now-a-problem/

 

 

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