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The THB Soup Kitchen in the town of Alor Setar serves an evening meal every day to about 150 to 180 regular visitors. No questions asked – anyone who queues up is eligible to receive a meal pack. This Soup Kitchen is run through the largesse of the public and the Inner Wheel Club of Alor Setar (IWC AS) is one such contributor. The motto, ‘No one should live in hunger’, is close to the heart of IWC AS members and the Club has endeavoured to sponsor meals as well as to help prepare, pack and distribute.
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, IWC AS was not able to help for some time, but an opportune moment presented itself in early November 2021 when the restrictions were eased. Taking cognisance that the Festival of Lights or Diwali was around the corner, IWC AS members decided to sponsor a special meal for the visitors.
Members gathered at the Soup Kitchen in the evening of 2 November 2021 to pack and label the takeaway boxes. An Inner Wheel sticker on each pack made members happy that the Club could finally bring a long awaited project to fruition. As the clock struck 5:30 pm, the regular visitors began to queue outside the Soup Kitchen, the queue progressively getting longer over the next few minutes. The visitors religiously maintained their social distance and wore masks.
Usually, the visitors will only receive a meal pack. This time, through the thoughtfulness of member Ruby, each of them also received a deliciously juicy red Fuji apple, a dessert which drew both gasps of surprise and delight from them. One of them just stared before smiling a toothless grin and told the members that he will make apple juice when he gets home!
Members struck up conversations, enquiring about their health and wishing them a joyous Diwali. A simple question like, “What’s your name, sir?” seemed to make them so happy, and some had grins spread all over their faces that this time, the meal distribution was a little different than before.
As the visitors found comfortable places along five-foot ways to savour their meal, perhaps the first one of the day, the Club members felt a deep sense of satisfaction that that day had been different. The visitors had enjoyed the special meal with the apple and had helpers chatting, smiling and wishing them well.
All it took was a small donation coupled with kindness to bring cheer to about 153 needy people then. Club members are awed that the power of a smile can make so many people happy. What a wonderful gesture to usher in the Festival of Lights.