Thursday, April 18, 2024
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My days at Kechara Soup Kitchen

I spent almost a month volunteering at a place called Kechara Soup Kitchen. If you are wondering what on earth a soup kitchen is, well, it is NOT a place that sells soup.

Kechara Soup Kitchen (KSK) is a non-religious community action group that distributes food, basic medical aid and counselling to the homeless and urban poor of Malaysia. So basically, it is a place where the homeless could get some assistance from and it is located in Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur. KSK does not discriminate in terms of race, gender or culture. For this reason, their food is vegetarian 🙂

It was such a coincidence I should say, that I bumped into a book named Hunger Knows No Barrier at One Utama MPH Bookstore. 

This book is written by two KSK volunteers (father and son) and it tells us their story of being with the homeless of KL with KSK for one year.

I thought it would be interesting to read and also at the same time gaining new perspectives on the issue of homelessness. So, why not read it? 😛
I have always wanted to volunteer since young age and I was always wondering where to start. After reading the book I thought to give it a try at KSK and so I contacted them to have my name registered as a volunteer.
I started volunteering around the mid of March. At that time, I only went once a week (on the Wednesdays). Then, I started to go everyday except weekends in April.

Volunteering Activities at KSK

Week Days (Monday – Friday)
Volunteers will be involved in packing cooked food into paper wrappers before being distributed from the kitchen counter for the walk-in clients to collect.(A homeless has to be registered in order to get assistance from KSK and once the homeless is registered under KSK, we address him or her as ‘client’. )

We can also help the kitchen supervisor to clean dishes, clean the kitchen after the busy distribution period , sort out donated clothes etc.
No cooking is done in the kitchen and all necessary equipment will be provided.

My first impression of KSK –   it is a very small, clean and neat place 🙂 

This is the place where the homeless have their meal. 
This is the kitchen where we pack the food.
Speaking of the kitchen, I must introduce you Uncle Ng, who is a very dedicated volunteer. He goes to KSK very early in the morning everyday just to get the food prepared.
Packing Food 😛
Uncle Ng teaching the volunteers on packing the food 🙂
Clients getting their food.
Sorting out clothes.
Checking the expiry date of the bread.
Volunteers from Brickfields Asia College cleaning the soup kitchen. 
Regular volunteer Ms. Evonne registering a client.
Random conversation with one of the clients 🙂

Besides providing food from the soup kitchen itself, KSK also distributes food to a few places such as the Medan Tuanku Feeding Centre, the homeless shelter and a place called Kampung Berani 🙂

Medan Tuanku Feeding Centre
The Homeless Shelter
Kampung Berani

The volunteering activities are held during day time for weekdays and night time for weekends. I have only volunteered once during the weekends which was on Saturday night. There are many teams for Saturday night such as the medical team, the food distribution team, the registration team etc. I joined the registration team at Medan Tuanku Feeding Centre.

Medan Tuanku Feeding Centre during night time.
The registration team 🙂

What I did was searching for the name cards for newly registered clients as they walked in.

It was a very unforgettable experience for me at KSK. The most valuable lesson I have learnt during my days there is that I have to be more appreciative and grateful towards what I have in my life. Youngsters nowadays are more materially inclined. It seems that we will never get satisfied with what we have. Everything has to be branded or it is worthless.

I remember being touched so deeply by an act of an old lady. I asked whether she needed any clothes and she told me ‘yes’. So I searched for some donated clothes for her and her reaction was priceless. She smiled so widely with joy and said, ‘My granddaughter would love this shirt!’ Being a granddaughter myself, the emotions I had at that moment was unexplainable and I was trying hard to hold my tears back.

I never understand why the world has social hierarchy. To me there is nothing called social status, everyone of us is the same. I have always considered myself a very fortunate person because I never have to worry about a place to stay or what to eat for my next meal. Fortunate people should always help the unfortunate ones. This has always been my belief.

Although there are some homeless who have caused themselves into this state due to laziness, there are always others who really need help.

Never help blindly, but never be blind to the real needs of others.

The happiest thing for me is that I have met many great people during my time at KSK.

Ms Evonne, a part time lecturer and lawyer 🙂
JetSon, Saymond, JohnSon, Eelyn, Natasha and ShirYuan, interns from TarCollege 🙂
Sis Peng from LimMengKee (beside KSK)
GouZun from LimMengKee 🙂
Volunteers from Segi College 🙂
Volunteers from University of Malaya 🙂
Saymond and Antonio, the guy from Canada who purposely came all the way to volunteer 🙂
and lastly, my favourite Uncle Ng

Thumbs up for him ! 😀

If you wish to know more about Kechara Soup Kitchen, you can always visit them or their website 🙂

About the Author
Ms. Goo Yee San believes that knowledge and education could make the world a better place. She took CIE A Level at Brickfields Asia College for year 2014/15 and was awarded the prestigious Cambridge Top in The World award for Law subject for the Oct/Nov 2015 session. 


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