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Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Robin Hoods who feed KL’s poor

Robin Hood Army Kuala Lumpur founder Kim Chang speaks of the importance of spending time with the city’s poor and homeless.
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KUALA LUMPUR: When 28-year-old Kim Chang made the decision to feed Kuala Lumpur’s homeless and poor, she began to lose friends who could not understand her mission.
“I used to go out and party a lot with my friends, but this all changed after a trip to several countries in the region,” she said. “What I saw in the poorer areas in countries such as Vietnam, Laos and Thailand changed my life.”
Chang is an accounts manager at an e-commerce company. Realising she had to do more with her life, she set out last April to form the Robin Hood Army Kuala Lumpur (RHA), a chapter of the India-based Robin Hood Army, which serves the homeless and poor.
The RHA aims to feed the poor while minimising food wastage by getting restaurants to donate food, which the group distributes.
Now, with the support of three restaurants and some volunteers, the RHA distributes fresh food to the homeless around the Pasar Seni and Petaling Street area every Monday night.
“I focus most of my time on RHA, looking for volunteers and for restaurants to help our cause,” Chang said. “My friends could not understand this.”
She said some friends asked why she would go to the streets to do charity when she could just give money to the poor.
“Charity is not just about giving money,” she said. “When we go down to the ground and meet different people, it gives us a chance to better understand their problems. This helps us find better solutions.
“We have met homeless people who are going through a rough patch, and they want to help themselves by finding jobs, but they cannot afford clothes to go for interviews. So this is also where we try to help them.”
Charlie’s Cafe in Taman Desa and Mani Curry House and Ryan Bistro in Sentul give RHA a total of 60 packs of fresh food every week.
Chang said the main challenge RHA faces was a lack of volunteers and participating restaurants.
“We are looking for more restaurants to contribute food and we are in real need of more volunteers,” she said.
“We do not accept cash. We only want people’s time. It means a lot to the homeless when people spend time with them.”
She lamented that although the RHA Facebook page had 92 followers, fewer than 10 volunteers would turn up regularly.
Those interested in joining the ranks of RHA can check out Robin Hood Army
The Robin Hood Army, founded in India in 2014, got its name from the legendary English hero who stole from the rich and gave to the poor.
In India, the group collects uneaten food from hotels and distributes it to the poor. -FMT

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