The purpose of human life is to serve and to showcase compassion and a desire to assist others. And this pandemic is the ideal opportunity for us to demonstrate our compassion to society by purely contributing something that will benefit those in need.
Merga Restaurant, well-known in Klang, has been distributing freshly prepared lunch packets to the less fortunate. This is a family-run restaurant, and the initiative began much earlier, during the first MCO in March 2020, where they distributed nearly 10,000 food packets.
Nagalingam Nagaraju, whose parents founded Merga Restaurant, spoke with FMT about their endeavour and how it all began.
“My friends and I understand that a lot of people must be struggling during these tough times and we wanted to give back to the community,” explained Nagalingam.
Almost 10,000 packets of hot meals were distributed to the needy with the help of his super supportive friends, family, and the non-governmental organisation (NGO) KitaPeduli.my.
This initiative, according to Nagalingam, continued until the lockdown was lifted.
“When we received the news that there would be another MCO, my father and I decided to revive our previous initiative. But due to travel restrictions, we decided to distribute the food directly from the restaurant,” said the 43-year-old.
The restaurant currently serves at least 120 hot meals per day. Nagalingam conveys that the number of packed foods is determined by sponsorships — there have been instances where they distributed 620 packets in a single day.
Their sponsors usually decide whether the food served to the needy that day will be vegetarian or non-vegetarian.
The cost of 120 packets of vegetarian food would be around RM400. However, if they request non-vegetarian food, the price will be slightly higher.
Nagalingam’s mother is the head chef at Merga Restaurant, and by 9.30 am every day, she and her team are very hardworking in the kitchen. All of the food will be ready for packing and distribution by 11 am.
The food will be packed well in styrofoam containers by 11.30am. Later, the team will start distributing the meals from 12pm to 1pm to the needy who drop by. According to Nagalingam, the food is finished by 12.30pm on some days.
Merga Restaurant does not hold back when it comes to providing a feast for the less fortunate, from spicy vegetarian nasi lemak to delectable chicken peratal.
Not only that, but Nagalingam and his team visit a nearby old folks home every Friday to treat seniors with their delectable offerings in response to requests. They also take advantage of this opportunity to distribute care packages to those in need who are unable to collect the food from the restaurant themselves.
“When we were about to kick off this initiative, I dropped a message to my family and close friends and within 24 hours, they all agreed to become food sponsors throughout this MCO,” smiled Nagalingam, who said he is deeply thankful to all who have stepped up thus far.
“It’s really touching when they express their gratitude,” he said of those who come to collect the free food, and added that he and his team truly wanted to help lessen the burden of members of their community.
“After all, most of them lost their jobs during the pandemic. Some were neighbourhood barbers and security guards; we even have children coming in to collect food.”
“Even though 70% of the restaurant’s business is down due to the pandemic, we believe our family-run restaurant is able to survive. Plus, we see a lot of folks suffering. So by having this initiative, it gives us some form of satisfaction to see their face light up when they receive the food,” Nagalingam said.
Nagalingam aims to continue this initiative on a monthly basis after the current lockdown ends on 28th June due to overwhelming requests from sponsors.
If you want to help Merga Restaurant’s charity effort, please contact Nagalingam at 016 697 0651.
Source: Free Malaysia Today