by the Pit Stop Team
It looks like things might be slowly getting back to "normal", doesn't it?
Except that now, when we eat at restaurants, we need to get our temperature taken and log in our particulars, for contact tracing purposes.
Except that a number of companies have shuttered their businesses, leaving many more jobless, some even homeless in the wake of the MCO and CMCO and, in some places, EMCO.
Imagine this: you're working in a small tech company. First, two weeks into the MCO, you're notified by email that your salary of maybe RM2,400 has been slashed by 35 per cent.
Six weeks into the ongoing MCO, flowing into the CMCO, you get an email that the company has decided to close down and they will be paying your last (slashed) salary at the end of the month and you have an ailing, aged father and two children to support.
Imagine this: You survive as a small trader/food stall owner, dealing mostly a cash business. You were doing alright, paying your bills on time, mostly.
Then came the MCO and you can no longer open your stall. You are the sole breadwinner, a single mother of maybe two or three with aged parents to support. Whatever savings you had, whatever capital you put aside to roll into your business is now gone, into food, bills and other necessities.
Imagine this: you're a cleaner in an office, but you've been out of work for more than two months, because the office has been closed. Now, you find out that the business has closed. You have a wife and three children. And nothing in the bank.
Go to the Social Welfare Department, people say. Register for BPN. Ask for Zakat. But you were not eligible in the first place. And now that you are, they weren't open.
It is families, individuals and communities like these that we have been assisting with our food packs.
Pit Stop supporters, friends, contributors, have asked: how do you put together your food packs?
It's not an exact science but this is how it goes:
We start with the number of possible people in a household. We start with 75gms of dry rice per meal for an adult male, 50gms for an adult female, 40gms for a child below 12 but above six.
We estimate the amount of proteins needed, which can be 35gms to 60gms per day, depending on age, weight, height.
We look at the portioning of vegetables necessary for a family.
Then we calculate for 10 to 14 days of supplies.
But it's not just households that we support.
We also support orphanages (and children will need fruit), old folks homes (less rice, but there will be cereal or oats), shelters, Orang Asli villages, transit homes... and the list goes on. All of their packs, calculated to ensure that they have enough nutrition to sustain themselves for a two-week period.
We search out the forgotten, the taken-for-granted, the invisible. And oddly enough, that included smaller traffic police stations where the cops were pulling double duty, fire stations that were on call 24/7, police quarters where there were also families affected.
Two weeks later, we revisit, or we make sure they check in with us. Are they alright? How is their food supply? Have there been donors? Yes? Good. We let them go and take in another beneficiary. No? Why not? What are they short of?
Interestingly enough, for many of the organisations, rice was not the major problem. Cooking oil, protein (eggs, chicken etc), vegetables (increasingly expensive to the point of unaffordability), were the key issues.
We dug into funds kept aside for vegetables. Every now and then, in comes a tonne of vegetables and fruit from Cameron Highlands, from small wholesalers, ordered by us, portioned out to organisations and communities.
The benefits are two-fold - households get much needed vegetables and smallholders and small businesses get business. Not much, but it's still something.
And we wouldn't have been able to do this without your support, in both cash and kind.
If you would like to support us, please do help by going to:
https://app.theother.kitchen/pitstop where for:
RM9.90, a meal is sponsored for the day
RM12, a family will receive a tray of eggs, and for
RM25, a family of four to six people will have vegetables for a week.
Should you choose to use this, please do ensure that you click a time for pick-up but don't worry about picking up, we will be the ones working in the background to sort out supplies.
This app, which was set up by the people promoting #jomtapau, will help us keep a tally of vegetable boxes and trays of eggs contributed by all of you.
And yes, we are keeping a tally on the amount of oil, rice, eggs, vegetables and other items going out in food aid packages, as well as the number of people (more or less, but we have fairly decent estimates, with a simple margin of error) that have been receiving aid, courtesy of all our Earth Angels.
If you'd like to stick around and browse the offerings on the app as well, it would help a lot of smaller restaurants and cafes continue operating and maybe even give them a new lease of life.
We would also like to ask - please do share this post, if you think there are other Earth Angels out there looking to help a family in need (or someone who just likes good food but have yet to find out about this app).
Pit Stop is a community cafe in Kuala Lumpur working to find solutions to urban hunger and poverty by marshalling volunteers and repurposing food.
If you would like to contribute or help us fundraise, please go to: https://www.simplygiving.com/Social/pitstop For contributions towards our Dinner Service, go to: https://www.simplygiving.com/Appeal/pitstopdinnerservice For contributions towards our Culinary Program for Underprivileged Youth, please go to: https://www.simplygiving.com/Appeal/pitstopculinaryprogram And to contribute towards our Food Futures, please go to: https://www.simplygiving.com/Event/ftnfoodfutures Please contact us if you would like to volunteer.
*Published with permission from Pit Stop as SeriusAh’s little effort to support the good work done by Pit Stop and their angels.*