Committee members of the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Bukit Tembok, Seremban, have extended the temple’s daily free meal service to the public.
Since ananthanam (meals donated by Good Samaritans) was already being provided daily for devotees, temple president Datuk Dr Thavanaison Arumugam said it was only natural to extend the service to the public during these trying times.
“We have been providing breakfast and lunch for about 30 people daily since we heard of the plight of several families in the neighbourhood who were going hungry during the movement control order (MCO),” he said.
The temple’s MCO anathanam was launched on April 5 to provide packed vegetarian lunches to anyone in need, regardless of race or religion. Dr Thavanaison said the packed lunches will be offered to the public until June 14.
The temple committee started their anathanam on a small scale where about 15 people came to collect the packed lunches. Now, the temple’s team of staff and volunteers prepare an average of 1,000 lunches a day, cooking up to 80kg of rice to meet the demand.
“once word spread, and especially after the Tamil New Year on April 14, we were inundated with requests for more packed lunches. On our busiest day thus far, we gave out 1,250 packs of food,” Datuk Dr Thavanaison said.
Volunteers, including temple committee members and staff, begin preparing lunch at 6am every day. Once the cooking is done, the meals are packed in biodegradable containers for distribution to the public around 11am.
The necessary health and safety procedures are observed and strictly adhered to during food preparation, handling and distribution. These include scanning the temperature of volunteers daily, wearing face masks, gloves and maintaining social distancing.
The packed meals, which typically include rice, sambar (lentil gravy) and vegetables, are handed out to the recipients at the temple gate in an orderly manner. Dr Thavanaison was grateful to temple committee members, staff, devotees and generous donors who had contributed in cash and kind to the programme.
“This is a community effort. Everyone has pitched in to offer assistance in any way they can,”
“Well-wishers include Seremban MP Anthony Loke who donated 500kg of rice, and even suppliers of dry ingredients and vegetables who give us discounts because they know that the food is for the needy, ” he said, adding that a total of RM37,000 had been spent on the programme to-date.
News Credit: TheStar