It looked like Chinese New Year was going to be a sombre affair for 67-year-old Chu Boy Ming and her family.
With her son – a construction worker and sole breadwinner in the family – having his income reduced due to the current pandemic situation, Chu had resigned herself to not being able to make CNY goodies, and having a modest reunion dinner at most.
But Carlsberg Malaysia in partnership with Star Foundation and MyKasih Foundation rolled out the Celebrate Prosperity, Cheers For Tomorrow food aid initiative to support 400 needy families nationwide amid current trying times.
Carlsberg Malaysia and Star Foundation channelled RM200,000 to MyKasih Foundation which distributed RM500 each to these families in time for the Chinese New Year celebration.
“I’m happy that they are helping people, ” said a grateful Chu who was among the recipients.
With the money, she bought foodstuff for the Chinese New Year. “Sugar to make huat kueh for prayers, ” she said, “and cooking oil to fry ngaku (arrowhead) chips.”
The rest of the money was for provisions to keep the family going. Chu joined fellow recipients who turned up at participating retailers in their area and she bought approved essential items such as rice, sugar, cooking oil, biscuits, Milo and eggs.
Klang beneficiaries with their groceries just in time for Chinese New Year celebrations.
Carlsberg Malaysia managing director Stefano Clini said the company was sensitive to the current sentiment and rolled out its Celebrate Prosperity, Cheers For Tomorrow food aid campaign to add some festive cheer for Chinese New Year celebrants, and to tide the rest over.
Star Foundation and Star Media Group chairman Datuk Fu Ah Kiow said that to rebuild the economy and restore the people’s livelihood following the second movement control restriction would take “a whole-of-society effort whereby everyone can play a part to support one another.”
Goh Gek Keow, 75, who lives with her two children, did not expect to receive RM500 from this campaign.
“She usually got RM100 or RM200 from other NGOs and benefactors previously. So getting a RM500 allowance from Carlsberg was a real delight, ” said her son Low Beng Kiat.
The part-time real estate worker said that since the movement control order was enforced, his commission-based income has been inconsistent, so the RM500 came in handy.
While the food aid campaign focused mainly on underprivileged families, orphans, single-parent families and those with disabled family members, recipients were also selected based on their monthly household income of less than RM2,500.
Single mother Kanniyakumari Darbadas, 37, who has two of her four children living with her received the RM500 one-time payment but she wished that it could be a monthly allowance.
“Thank you so much. If I can have this monthly, I can feed my children, ” she said.
Her neighbour Karthiyaani Ramalingam shared that Kanniyakumar is prone to seizures and thus unable to work.
“When she is unwell, her children would run over to find me. The houses here are far apart, but I’m the nearest, ” said Karthiyaani, 39.
“Normally she would be given RM300 from welfare agencies and she used the money to pay the bills and feed her children.
“Now with Covid-19, her children in primary school are having trouble with their studies. The school has asked Kanniyakumari to buy a laptop. Where to find the money?
“So her children have not been studying for more than a year, ” said Karthiyaani.