Kechara Soup Kitchen: From Soup Kitchen to Food Bank and Empowerment Programmes

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KSK office space in Taman Molek being officiated by Johor Women Development and Tourism Committee Chairman Liow Cai Tung Project Director Justin Cheah

Well known for their Soup Kitchen programme every Saturday in downtown Johor Bahru, Kechara is now doing more to ease the burden of the less privileged

Kechara Soup Kitchen (KSK) has opened their official office space in Taman Molek, Johor Bahru to facilitate training programmes and to coordinate their volunteerism efforts in the state.

KSK has been operating in Johor Bahru since 2011 with over 60 active volunteers. They are a well established NGO known for distributing food, basic medical care, haircut and counselling services via their soup kitchen activities catered to the homeless and urban poor in Johor Bahru and Kuala Lumpur.

Going beyond the soup kitchen, KSK have initiated a food bank programme with Tesco whereby out-of-date produce and perishable items from the store, which were “bound for the landfill”, to be distributed to selected families and needy groups.

“There are 8 Tesco outlets in Johor and we collect around 15 tonnes of surplus food from them to be channelled to the identified lower income families. AEON and Hero Market have also expressed interest to show support to our Food Bank programme,” said Kechara Soup Kitchen’s Project Director Justin Cheah.

What started as a small aid programme in 2015, KSK’s Food Bank programme has now served 120 families, 600 individuals and distributed 136tonnes of surplus food.

Apart from the Food Bank, KSK has also embarked on providing training to single mothers and underprivileged individuals. They have currently trained 17 mothers under their Family and Community Empowerment (FACE) programme to make bags and rugs.

Justin who has been a volunteer at KSK for many years speaks passionately about the impact of the Food Bank and FACE Programme and how it can really make a change in families or individuals living in hardship. When asked about the current situation of homeless individuals in Johor Bahru, Justin stresses that “being homeless is not a crime but it’s the situation that they are trapped in and the problems they faced in the past that has brought them to the streets.”

Currently there are 150 homeless people living in the streets of Johor Bahru town. Soup Kitchen programmes are carried out in Johor Bahru town by KSK as well as other NGOs such as Friends & Strangers and CIC JB. Interested volunteers can contact Project Director Justin Cheah @ 010-3333 260 via SMS or Whatsapp for further details.