Kechara Soup Kitchen recently recruited two senior citizens from the streets to help in our new soup kitchen building. Ng Chin Sin and Martha (Charlene) Ong might both be older than many of us but they are extremely capable and certainly no pushovers!
Our friendship with Uncle Ng started back in 2006 when we first began our food distribution on the streets where Uncle Ng also volunteered. Uncle Ng has always supported the idea of KSK’s food distribution programme and concept of a nurture centre to bring our clients off the streets. Despite not having a home himself, Uncle Ng has never expressed discontent with his situation and has never asked for money from any one of us.
When KSK began daily food distribution from our soup kitchen just off Jalan Imbi, Uncle Ng readily offered himself to be a full-time volunteer with us. Since then, Uncle Ng has been coming every single day and despite his age, he is still strong. Uncle also mingles very well with our other volunteers and staff in KSK.
KSK rented a furnished room nearby so Uncle Ng has somewhere to stay, in consideration and thanks for Uncle Ng’s kindness and loyal service to the homeless community. Ever humble, Uncle Ng only accepted our offer after much persuasion.
Like Uncle Ng, Aunty Charlene has been a long-time friend of KSK. Aunty used to get our food packets from her ‘home’ in Pudu Market. Charlene has loved our soup kitchen from the day she set foot in our new building. She voluntarily began cleaning our interior and doing the laundry for other homeless clients.
Aunty Charlene is equally passionate and committed to her work, never slacking in her voluntary services. Before joining KSK, Aunty Charlene used to walk about the neighborhood in Pudu Market, looking for recyclables to sell to support herself. She told us that her cleaning work is much easier than looking for recyclables as the hot weather was starting to affect the 66-year old’s health.
Recently, we celebrated Uncle Ng’s 60th birthday, combining it with a welcome lunch for both him and Aunty Charlene. We had a fun time together over lunch and although he did not verbally express his feelings, Uncle Ng was visibly touched.
These days, Uncle Ng and Aunty Charlene pass their free time resting in their rooms rather than loitering on the streets. Uncle Ng’s favorite pastime is having dinner at a local mamak stall, catching up on the latest news or watching live football telecasts before he calls it a night. For Aunty Charlene, even after a long day of cleaning with KSK, she enjoys going home to clean…after all, both she and Uncle Ng now have a place to call home!