Feeding Hunger to Feed Hope

12 February 2010 - 12:35am Comments Off

The auctioneer for the night, the ever-enthusiastic Phng Li Kim (CEO of Kechara Media & Publications)

Kechara Soup Kitchen (KSK) has come a long way since it began in 2006 when a group of friends began distributing 20 packets of food to the homeless. In the last four years, we have grown to a dedicated team of volunteers who hit the streets each weekend to distribute 800 packets of food.

KSK has always been a mobile distribution food service and being of that nature, we inevitably sometimes miss out some of our clients. Recognising the need to provide our clients with better service, and assist the increasing number of homeless on our streets, KSK recently acquired a permanent building off Jalan Imbi, in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.

To be truly effective in our work however, we need to renovate and properly equip the building. In light of this, KSK recently held our annual fundraising dinner on 7 February 2010 at the Sunway Pyramind Convention Centre.

With a black and red theme, the convention centre was dressed to the nines, with 800 guests to match. The dinner was graced by our Guest of Honour, YB Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, Minister of Women, Family and Community Development. She was joined by other distinguished guests including Mr Ngeow Voon Yean (Managing Director of Sunway Properties), Tuan Syed Annuar (Director of Public Affairs for AmBank Bhd), Aster Lim (Managing Editor of Blu Inc Media), Patrice Pakium (Owner of Orient Reward), Shahreen Kamaluddin and Kamaluddin Ali.

In her opening speech, our President Ruby Khong explained that KSK is an NGO working towards a long-term solution for the homeless. Through regular interaction with our clients, KSK aims to help them find homes, jobs and care so that they can reintegrate into society as positive contributors, thus regaining their dignity. Speaking to them helps us learn exactly what help they need and all too often it is for the thing we take for granted every day, like having an Identity Card, access to medical aid, or just having clean clothes.

Our patron, YBhg Datuk Dr Victor Wee (Chairman of Tourism Malaysia), later spoke very movingly about the origins of KSK. He explained that the organisation’s inspiration was His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche, who had experienced the suffering of homelessness when he left his parents’ home as a teenager. Travelling penniless from New Jersey to Los Angeles, it was his experiences during this time that inspired Rinpoche to established KSK.

Yang Berhormat Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil’s speech provided the most pleasant surprise of the night. Commending Datuk Victor, Ruby and KSK’s volunteers, Yang Berhormat said that under the leadership of Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak, the government placed great importance on the people’s welfare. Hence, in support of KSK’s work, she was donating RM50,000 on behalf of the Malaysian government! When the applause died down, Yang Berhormat urged guests to dig deep, be generous and do the same.

More than just gaining funds, Yang Berhormat’s announcement and donation indicates our government’s support and endorsement of our community work. This significant moment in KSK’s history was greeted with great excitement amongst our volunteers there that night.

KSK's Vice President Julia Tan presents the mock cheque to KSK President Ruby Khong, on behalf of the Melium Group-Malaysian Tatler organising committee

As our guests dined on vegetarian food, there was more happy news to be had. Another major contribution was made to KSK’s fundraising. The organising committee of a charity auction jointly organised by the Melium Group and Malaysian Tatler were donating RM30,000 to the KSK cause!

The total amount raised for the night was later boosted by a successful auction that saw RM9900 raised through the sale of a beautiful antique Tara pendant, modelled by Shirley Maya Tan. Further funds were also raised through donations collected by little ballerinas and the sale of the very adorable stuffed tiger centrepieces.

Guests left the evening well-fed and thoroughly entertained by the melodic strains of local artistes Suki Low, Deja Moss and Katherine Chan. Most of all, they left happy they had just made a major contributon to charity…and had fun doing it! Thanks to the hard work of the KSK team, and the support of our kind Malaysian government, KSK is one step closer to fully kitting out our building so it can fulfil its purpose!

With our new building, we’ll be able to reach out to more people, to feed their stomachs and minds, and give them the assistance they need to get off the streets for good. If you can help us fulfil our wish list, or donate to our ongoing regular activities, contact our Project Director Chua Siong Woan at siongwoan.chua@kechara.com or +6010 333 3260.


Feeding Hunger to Feed Hope…

The VVIP table

Our emcees for the night, Bill Keith and Didi

Guests were treated to the beautiful voices of Deja Moss, Suki Low...

...and Katherine Chan!

The Tara pendant! From a starting bid of RM2800, the pendant was eventually auctioned off for RM9900.

Stuffed tiger centrepieces were available for guests to take home for a donation

Datuk May Phng and Datuk Seri Shahrizat share a light moment together

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