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UKIC / International Student Scholar Services / UK International Alum Helps Donate Over 30K Meals to Families in Malaysia During COVID-19

UK International Alum Helps Donate Over 30K Meals to Families in Malaysia During COVID-19

Tuesday, November 10, 2020 | By Paulina Zarate

Adrian Lim, UK international alum from Malaysia, was the organizing chairperson for the Feed the Hunger initiative in Malaysia. This initiative provided meals and grocery supplies to households of daily wage earners around Subang Jaya, USJ Subang Jaya and parts of Sunway that were affected by the movement control order (MCO) restrictions in Subang Jaya.

The MCO in Malaysia was implemented in March of this year and is a cordon sanitaire implemented as a preventative measure by the federal government of Malaysia in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. The Malaysian government gave a 24-hour notice prior to a complete lockdown coming into effect. For this reason the Feed the Hunger initiative was implemented shortly after the MCO and ran up until early May.

Lim and his partner, the Lions Club of Subang Jaya set out to provide immediate relief from hunger to households caught in the lockdown. As the organizing chair for this initiative, Lim was responsible for managing the project, which included fundraising, ordering meals, logistics, coordination with local resident volunteers and getting relevant approvals from the authorities to carry out food distribution during the lockdown.

The Lions Club and local restaurants were able to help fund, coordinate, and manage the initiative. Meanwhile, local resident volunteers helped with the meal distribution to those households in need.

“The heroes of the project are the local resident volunteers. Without their help we wouldn’t have been able to distribute the amount of meals that we did,” Lim said. “We would have a small team of five to ten volunteers helping us daily to identify the households in dire straits and deliver the meals and groceries to them.”

On the first day of lockdown, Lim and the team started out with just 200 meals. Eventually, the team was able to deliver more than 1,000 dinner meals daily. By the end of April, they had donated more than 35,000 meals since the MCO was put in place.

“In our groceries phase of this project, we partnered with Subang Jaya ADUN’s office on dry groceries distribution and successfully delivered them to 1,060 households an April 21 and 22,” Lim said.

Lim told Malay Mail that the extension of the MCO lockdown in Malaysia meant that the Feed the Hunger initiative needed to be extended as well in order to continue to provide support to those families in need during the MCO.

“We were founded in Subang Jaya, for Subang Jaya. This is our obligation to help our town respond to what is probably the biggest shock it has ever faced,” Lim said.

There were many challenges Lim and his team faced working throughout the MCO. One of the challenges the team faced was operating in a way that didn’t worsen the COVID-19 pandemic. “That was very important to us, that in trying to help, we don’t accidentally worsen the problems,” Lim said. For this reason, the team conducted hours of training and supervising the volunteers on how to handle food without human contact and invested in gloves and face masks for all volunteers.

Lim and the team split the roles of each team member up by logistics, food management and communications helping overcome any challenges faced by the team.

Many daily wage earners have been able to go back to work, essentially making the meal distributions has come to an end. However, the Feed the Hunger initiative is still on-going.

“We are now working with the Leo Clubs, which is a youth-based organization for high school and university students,” Lim said. “The youth Leo members, under our supervision, are now assisting households that have yet to recover economically from the lockdown, by purchasing and delivering groceries to their households.”

The Feed the Hunger initiative did more than just distribute meals to those in need. “Our Feed the Hunger programs helped bridge the divide between the different segments of the community, Lim said. “Many families in the middle and upper-income brackets were not aware of the tricky situation the daily wage earners are in.”

To Lim and his team one of the best parts of this initiative was seeing the reaction of all the meal recipients.

“Seeing the surprise on these families faces, that in their darkest and challenging days when their families were going hungry, the township of Subang Jaya rallied to help them,” Lim said.