KUALA LUMPUR, June 29, 2016: At around midnight last night, as has been done every week this Ramadhan, volunteers gathered on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Kuala Lumpur, to prepare food for 500 of the less fortunate people in the city as part of the last ‘JOM SAHUR!’ of the year.

JOM SAHUR! was a weekly event organised by non-government organisation Institut Onn Ja’afar (IOJ) in collaboration with Yayasan Chow Kit’s KL Krash Pad, to provide food for Kuala Lumpur’s homeless and underprivileged denizens.

“We would like to thank the more than 240 volunteers who helped out throughout the JOM SAHUR! campaign as well as our sponsors who provided everything from food, drinks, fruit and snacks, to clothes and shoes,” said IOJ CEO Charles Mohan.

Charles explained that JOM SAHUR! was a Ramadhan-friendly version of IOJ’s JOM BEKPES! breakfast soup-kitchen campaign which itself is the brainchild of IOJ patron Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, who is also the Defence Minister.

“JOM SAHUR! was held 12.00am to 1.00am every Wednesday morning for the duration of the fasting month.
“It was held in three locations simultaneously; here outside KL Krash Pad, on Jalan Hang Lekiu, and at Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s half-way house Pusat Transit Gelandangan.”

He said that the three locations were picked as they were known to be places where Kuala Lumpur’s homeless denizens often gathered. At KL Krash Pad, 350 packs would be distributed here while 100 packs would go to Jalan Hang Lekiu and 50 packs to Pusat Transit Gelandangan.

“We had decided to give them Sahur at 12.00am based on feedback we received from the homeless during JOM BEKPES! sessions. They, the homeless, would rather take the food at that time and then have their rest instead of having to gather at 4am.”

Muhamad Aliff, 23, from Yayasan Ikhlas, said he was glad to be given the opportunity to help out at JOM SAHUR!
“I can’t stand to see people suffer, so I intend to help them,” he said.

However, RTM Ikon Siarawan celebrity Vanessa Mering, 27, said she could not explain why she volunteered as she did not like it when people were coddled, but at the same time still felt pity for the underprivileged.
“I don’t know what to say. I’m speechless. Honestly, I have no answer. I’m in two minds. It makes us think,” she said.

As for the food itself, IOJ had prepared sandwiches and an assortment of food including fried rice and curry puffs throughout the month, while Cotra Enterprise Sdn Bhd donated 504 packets every week of its 250ml Marigold UHT 100% Juice to be distributed during the JOM SAHUR! sessions.

Fruit, such as apples, oranges and bananas was also provided by another NGO, The Lost Food Project, which collects surplus food from supermarkets in Malaysia while snacks were donated and handed out by Hishammuddin’s children and their friends, as well as by the volunteers themselves.

Donations of clothes, including Raya clothes, and shoes also came from volunteers and members of the public.
Meanwhile, CIMB Malaysia had donated a van to IOJ which was used to bus volunteers and food to the other JOM SAHUR! locations.

Volunteers for the final JOM SAHUR! were from Universiti Tun Abdul Razak (UNIRAZAK), Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UNISZA) Yayasan Dana Kebajikan Muslim Malaysia (YDKMM), Yayasan Ikhlas and Ikon Siarawan as well as walk-in volunteers.

Other universities that had volunteered during previous JOM SAHUR! sessions came from Universiti Institut Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Melaka, Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UNIKL), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Universiti Selangor (UNISEL), Twintech International University College of Technology (TWINTECH) and Help Institute (HELP).

Aside from the universities, non-government organisations (NGOs) such as Isi Perut, celebrities, crew and staff from RTM, Astro Awani and NTV7 also took part.

However, Charles said more volunteers would be needed in the future and sponsors are welcome to contribute for JOM BEKPES! sessions which will continue after Hari Raya. He urged those who are interested to check out IOJ’s social media pages and its website,institutonnjaafar.com, to find out more.

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