By V. Shuman

The COVID-19 pandemic and the Movement Control Order (MCO) imposed to contain its spread has caused many people to lose their jobs and go hungry.

Although the government has announced various initiatives to address their plight, not everyone get to enjoy them, or there are just not enough to go around.

Deeply moved by the plight of people who have suddenly found their lives upended by this pandemic, a PR practitioner has started a personal and passionate quest, to provide food to as many needy people as possible.

Speaking to Astro Ulagam, Zeeneeshri Ramadass said she first started off by preparing and giving vegetarian food to people in her circle of contacts, when the MCO began last month.

However, watching the recent One World: Together At Home concert in television made her realise how many people have gone unemployed the world over, as a result of the pandemic.

"Even in Malaysia, there are daily wage earners, for instance, who are not entitled to certain handouts announced by the government, but still have mouths to feed.

This was what made her and her mother start making sandwiches to be given out to the needy, including the unemployed, poor, and those who are stranded, in the Klang Valley.

Zeenee publicised the initiative on her social media channels, including her website

Those in need of food are required to call or text a number provided on her posts, after which the packed food will be sent to them via food delivery services, which is paid for by Zeenee out of her own pocket.

Slowly gaining traction

So far, the food requests has been spread out over every other day, but it is slowly gaining traction, thanks to the social media.

What started off a family venture, now has some of Zeenee's friends onboard, in the form of helping to prepare the sandwiches, or providing funding for the items needed to make them.

The initiative is all the more important for the mother of three, as some of her friends are personally facing a tough time due to the MCO, but are "too shy" to ask for help.

As for the challenges faced in her quest, Zeenee said it is on the supply of vegetables needed for her food preparation.

"I used to get my vegetables from Cameron Highlands, but the MCO has now dampened the supply.

"Now, I have to depend on a particular supermarket to get my supplies from," said the former journalist.

Although preparing and sending out food costs her a few hundred ringgit of her own money at a time, Zeenee does not plan to give up on her quest to help the needy, just yet.

"Maybe because I was raised that way. In my family, food has always been shared.

"Whatever we cooked, we used to share with the neighbours. Given how I grew up, I would hate to imagine people going to bed hungry," she said.

If the food supply initiative goes on well, the next plan Zeenee has in the pipeline is providing counselling and mental health advice to those who have fallen on hard times due to the outbreak.

Those who would like to request for food supplies, or collaborate with Zeenee on her noble quest may contact her at 011-23126527.