While times are tough due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Malaysians are pulling together to support communities with kindness and trust, giving old methods such as communal food pantries an innovative spin.
The #AyamWithYou Food Pantry initiative, by Ayam Brand and 13 charity homes nationwide is working to help charities and to empower them to help surrounding communities that are need.
For example in Pertubuhan Kebajikan Shafar, an orphanage in Kampung Pasir is leading the way for the local community by managing the #AyamWithYou pantry in this area.
“We were concerned for the well-being of some families here especially during Ramadan and for Raya. We don’t have much, but they had less. We have been part of the Ayam Brand Community Care campaign in the past. This year Ayam Brand again provided our organisation with two months’ supply of their products for our residents, and suggested the food pantry or gerobok rezeki as a solution for the community. They have provided a weather-proof gerobok and a separate stock of products that we can bless the community with,” said Pertubuhan Kebajikan Shafar Johor Bahru administrator, Fauziah Shaik Omar.
The weather-proof food pantry is set up outside the charity home’s compound so that social distancing is observed. It is open to the public round-the-clock. Residents update the community about the food pantry through community groups on social media and messaging apps, while children from the home are responsible to top up the Ayam Brand products daily.
“We sent out messages by WhatsApp and Facebook that the food pantry items are free for those who need, while those who want to contribute can add dry foods, snacks, stationery, cleaning products and other essential items. The children relish the responsibility of managing the food pantry and keeping it well-stocked. They get to practice kindness and generosity,” said Fauziah.
Response to the initiative has been overwhelming with the daily allocation of Ayam Brand’s products such as tuna, baked beans, processed peas, canned pineapples and coconut milk snapped up quickly, and other essentials being added, with strong support from the community.
“Surprises have turned up at the food pantry including fresh vegetables, dates, baby formula, diapers and Raya cookies! We can feel the #KitaJagaKita closeness. The #AyamWithYou food pantry project has made this Ramadan and Raya very special by building stronger bonds of kindness, trust and support in our community, allowing us to contribute actively well-being,” she added.
Through its long-running Corporate Social Responsibility programmes, Ayam Brand has contributed more than 2 million healthy meals for charity, providing nutritious food to more than 21,800 people from 524 charity organisations and NGOs over the past 12 years.
This year the brand has supported COVID-19 frontliners at Hospital Sungai Buloh, 13 charity homes, the #AyamWithYou food pantry initiative, and the Anjung Singgah Kuala Lumpur Homeless Transit centre, with plans to support more organisations and communities.
“COVID-19 drastically changed our plans for the 13th annual Ayam Brand Community Care Campaign, but we see the positive impact of the #AyamWithYou Food Pantry initiative. It changes the narrative for our charity home partners, from being recipients to being contributors and donors in their respective communities. The community here has embraced the food pantry concept of ‘take what you need, leave what you can’ creating a virtuous cycle that is sustaining the initiative” said Ayam Brand Malaysia’s Marketing Manager, Nathan Deverre.
Ayam Brand’s staffs have helped spread the word on the food pantry so that more can benefit or contribute, and started the ball rolling by being among the first to contribute non-food items to the pantry.
“Starting with our families and friends we sent out a list of necessities for the pantry – those who could drop off essential items at the pantry. The community are so willing and eager to help. They have shared the location of the pantry with those in need as well. All of us can help within our means,” said an Ayam Brand team member who lives in the area.
The #AyamWithYou food pantry is located at No. 15, Jalan Limau, Kampung Pasir, 81200 Johor Bahru, Johor. Be part of the movement to receive or to give essentials.
Find out more about the #AyamWithYou food pantry initiative, visit https://www.ayambrand.com.my.