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Paying It Forward With Kindness: The Ikqram's FoodBank Initiative

The highest of distinctions is service to others...
King George VI

"Today, we have got 50 packs of rice to deliver to the community! Let's go!" enthused Dalilah. No doubt, the country has been reeling economically from the effects of the pandemic. Across all states, there were cries for aid in all forms, just to get by the tough days. Fortunately, the White Flag movement was eventually initiated by fellow Good Samaritans, and Dalilah and her family is of no exception.


Theirs is a project like any other food banks out there in Klang Valley, but there is slight difference in the modus operandi. Borne out of an altruistic personality, Mrs Dalilah has gone to great lengths in ensuring no family goes by the day without basic essentials. But what is more inspiring, is that her work translates to the same passion and gusto showed by her children. Together, the entire family, coupled with the help of friends, and neighbors, have founded the Ikqram's Food Bank to help anyone in an unfortunate circumstance.


As a volunteer myself, what struck a cord was their time and commitment towards this project. Out of pure selflessness, the family and us volunteers will stock up on dry goods, almost on a daily basis, with the help of those who have contributed financially. "We understand that not many people can go to the grounds to help, so if those who can do not step up, then who else will?" exclaimed Dalilah. Aniss, her eldest daughter, will usually do the groceries and it wasn't easy during EMCO and MCO. "During EMCO, I was out by myself pushing up to three trolleys filled with rice, flour, cooking oil and other essential goods, all on my own. Luckily, at times we do get help from friends and neighbours to carry and transport the goods," said Aniss.


Once back to the main hub which is their home, the task of organisation and packing are undertaken by the rest of the family members and volunteers. A box of basic essentials contains 2 bags of flour, Bihun noodle and sugar, 1 rice bag, 1 cooking oil, 1 packet of salt, 1 can of tuna and corn, 1 packet of biscuit with some additional items such as diapers or formula milk. Their entire porch has now been transformed to a storage centre with people coming in on a daily basis to pick up their essentials. After almost a month, without any doubt, theirs is a system that has sustained and garnered support from close friends, family and even those affected by the pandemic.


Another aspect that sets their project apart from the rest is the laborious ground work. "It is not just the case of buying and putting it out there for pick-up. We are bent on making sure the aid goes to the those who really needs it," explains Dalilah. Within the community, Dalilah and her small team of volunteers will identify communities in need of aid (particularly immigrants, refugees and lower social economic backgrounds) and distribute care packages to the affected families whilst abiding by the SOP.


"Almost everyday we get calls from families asking for help. Most of them have lost their income for months, having to sell appliances at home to make ends meet. We can't blame anyone for these situations, but if we can lend a helping hand, maybe we can help ease their burdens, at least until things get better," said Dalilah. In the community of Kampung Melayu Subang, her team had already distributed aid to families living in deplorable conditions as well as providing medical aid to rural communities. "Some live in unimaginable conditions. For example, an Indonesian lady who makes a living by collecting and recycling scrap metal has been living in a dodgy wooden house with barely any essentials and 2 children to raise. What upsets us more is that the children in no way deserves this," lamented Dalilah.


Moreover, with the efforts of NGO's such as Women For Refugee (WFR) and Doctors On Ground (DNG), co-founded by her daughter Arissa, their network has extended across Klang valley. Running concurrently with the food bank is the medical aid needed by these communities. "Sometimes, during distribution we get calls check on those who have been unwell. Fortunately, we do have a group of doctors who will both help distribute care packages and tend to their medical needs when required," explained Arissa.


The say that the spirit of service is the heart of humanity. In this case, it is the selfless deeds of people like Dalilah and her family that reaffirms the slogan #kitajagakita in times of hardship. If there is one lesson we could learn from this is that no contribution is ever too small and no help is beyond reach. This is the true spirit of Malaysian community coming together for the greater good of the nation.


For those who like to make a contribution in any forms can contact +6012-3940063 for more information.