KUALA LUMPUR: The Food Bank Malaysia (PFBM) programme has proven to be successful.
This is after records showed that 45,850 households benefited from its pioneer programme which was launched in Penang, last year, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
She said the programme was an initiative to help those from the hard core poor and poor groups cope with the rising cost of living as well as to reduce food wastage.
So far the programme shows positive impact on those receiving the aid, Dr Wan Azizah said.
She added that based on the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs' (KPDNHEP) figures, between August last year and February this year, a total of 1,055 metric tonne of food were saved through the programme.
“I am overwhelmed with the response. The programme was first introduced by the ministry in Penang in August 2018 but was officially launched by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng in December.
“The food surplus, though it may seem trivial but nevertheless it has had a major impact on those in need and also goes towards reducing food waste,” the Pandan MP said in her speech at the launch of the Pandan Food Bank, here, today.
Present at the launch were KPDNHEP Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail and former Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli.
The newly launched Pandan Food Bank has 200 registered aid recipients from the Parliamentary constituency.
Dr Wan Azizah said statistics of those who had so far benefited, up to February alone was quite positive.
The Women, Family and Community Development minister said following the success of the programme in Penang, it has since been expanded to Kelantan, Melaka, Johor, Perak, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Negri Sembilan.
She added that in implementing the Food Bank programme, KPDNHEP linked up with supermarkets, food producers, restaurants and hotels.
This was undertaken in cooperation with the ministry’s strategic partners, made up of organisations such as Mutiara Food Bank, Food Aid Foundation and KECHARA Soup Kitchen to help channel the aid to the target groups.
“This is not going to be a one-off or an ad hoc programme that only happens once or occasionally but is a continuous effort which is expected to help the hardcore poor cope with the rising cost of living.”
Dr Wan Azizah said the Food Bank Programme in Pandan would be managed by the ministry’s main strategic Partner, KECHARA Soup Kitchen, with the help of local non-governmental organisation (NGO) Voice of Pandan.
“These NGOs will collect groceries from the hypermarkets and supermarkets involved in the programme such as Tesco, Econsave, The Store, NSK and SEGI before they distribute them once a week to the target groups in the area,” she said.
Dr Wan Azizah added that the ministry’s food bank effort was also recently expanded to all public universities.
This was after the issue of university students taking only one meal a day made headlines.
“The National Living Action Council Meeting (NACCOL) came up with the decision on Feb 15, after complaints emerged that students could not afford to have more than one full meal a day, due to increasing daily expenses.”
Dr Wan Azizah said it was the government’s hope that no Malaysian would go to bed starving.
“I also hope this (Food Bank program) will help lessen the burden and benefit the less fortunate,” she said.