RYTHM Foundation and QNET set up community kitchen in Malaysia
S. Tangamani, 49 lost her husband six months ago and has been struggling to make ends meet.
“I am a florist and all I know is how to make garlands. My husband used to take care of all the household needs and bills. When he passed away, I felt helpless and had to rely on aid from relatives and friends,” she says.
Tangamani’s woes got worse as Malaysia went into lockdown to combat the spread of Covid-19.
“It was a dark period for me. Unable to sell flowers and garlands, I was struggling to pay our house rental of RM600. Many times, my daughter and I had to go to bed hungry,” she said while waiting for her turn to collect the free food from the community kitchen in Block 4, Desa Mentari, Selangor.
Tangamani is among the 100 families who collect their free food on Saturdays and Sundays from the community kitchen, which was set up with support from RYTHM Foundation (RF) and QNET, in partnership with MyPJ, a local community group.
Raw food materials are provided to MyPJ who formed a committee comprising residents who then take turns to cook, pack and distribute the food. The committee is also responsible to identify those in real need.
Siti Maimunah Kamaruddin, 55 who has been living in the Desa Mentari flats for the last 15 years is the main cook who starts prepping for the day’s cooking from 11 am. The food must be ready for distribution by 5 pm.
“I learned to cook from my mother-in-law who used to live in the estate and knows how to prepare Indian and Mamak dishes. When all of us from such different backgrounds get together to cook and help the community, it is really a good feeling. It’s like we are part of one big family,” she said.
Another committee member Rahimah Ngah, 56 said the community kitchen gave her the space to unleash her passion for cooking.
“I love to cook and this is a good initiative as we can also help those in need,” she said.