Thursday, December 25, 2008

Golfing for charity

Some people play golf to get business, some do it to get away from business. Then there’s the few that make it their business to play golf and help the disadvantaged at the same time. One of our regular volunteers Joyce is a great communicator of JS needs and she connected us to one of her many business networks just so more people could learn about the plight of single parents and do something really meaningful in the process.
Thanks to her gentle nudging, the Selangor & Federal Territory Machinery Merchants Association (SAFMA) took time off from their hectic corporate schedules to play a bit of golf but they did this with a singular purpose – to help raise funds for charity and this time around Jumble Station was among the many organizations that benefited from their heartfelt compassion.

Co-founder Lim Lian See, Joyce and I were invited to attend SAFMA’s 20th anniversary held at the HGH Convention Centre at Jalan Sentul. There we were treated to a sumptuous Chinese ‘makan’ fit for a king and where we were entertained by highly energetic Chinese, Thai and multi-ethnic dancing! The event culminated in a cheque presentation and Jumble Station was given a RM6,000 cheque for Single Parents which came in real handy when we decided to co-host a ‘Back-to-school’ party for the kids of single parents. More on that soon…

A family Outing..with a singular difference!

Family outings are usually tough things to plan. Try that with a dozen families or so and it can be a logistical nightmare. Still that didn’t stop four friends from doing it and doing it each time for single parents for the last three years.

Michael Moey, Dolly Chan, Mary Verguese and Tan Gaik Khim were buddies from USM ( Class of 1976) and this fab four were given a lump sum of money for charity way back in 2006 by A-da Solutions (M) Sdn Bhd plus various individual well-wishers. The four wanted to give single parents some quality time with their children. “During this time, they get to fellowship with other single mothers and participate in the many fun activities eg visits to tea estate, strawberry farm, vegetable farm etc,” Khim says.

This year, they did the same with some 12 families, all single parents recommended by Jumble Station, a community outreach initiative to assist Single Parents in need. We chose single parents who really needed a break or could do with a little pampering for a change. There was Mary Dass, the Mother Theresa of Desa Mentari near Sunway. She has a 20 year old daughter and every one in need at Desa Mentari goes to her for help.

There was Amethy with her two children, there was Krishnan a single father of 5 kids, there was Alice and her two kids, Meng Hong from Kajang with her two daughters, Lonvy from Sungai Buloh with her eight year old son Shaun, there was Anna and Alice, a grandmother of 5 kids that she's caring for and a couple of others as well. Yours truly went along as well to see first hand what it was like and to photograph the families on holiday at cool, CheFoo Centre at Cameron Highlands!

Both parents and kids enjoyed themselves visiting Strawberry and vegetable farms, vegetable market, pasar malam, pasar pagi and touring the Boh Tea plantation. Meals were a hefty affair, nasi lemak in the mornings to biscuits and cookies for tea and dinner saw loads of Cameron vegetables, seafood and meat aplenty, whatever hunger were easily appeased. Lunch too at Tanah Rata was a special treat thanks to the generousity of the Kiwanis of Puchong and Cheras which had graciously agreed to sponsor the meal for our hungry troupe and we all tucked into the seafood cum meat platter voraciously.

What made the trip memorable to many was the thoughtful gesture on the part of the fab four to have the photographs of each single parent and their kids taken after which it was promptly developed and printed. Each family then were given manila cards and ribbons and told to decorate their own photo albums the best way they could. The most creative were awarded prizes but for many of the families, the photographs will be a lasting momento of their precious time together and the precious gift of good times together by an unknown donor who knew how to give the gift of giving in a more meaningful way.

The only sad part of this story? There will not be a 4th outing because the lump sum given by the mysterious donor is finished. The single parents don’t know this, Jumble Station hopes that somewhere out there, someone will step forward to continue this uniquely beautiful gesture of giving and get the fab four to continue organizing more of such trips for the down and out of society. If you have the cash but don’t have the time, then give us a call 016-2202958 (Anne) and we’ll connect you to one of the fab four so that the lives of more single families can be touched for years to come .

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Setting Up a soup kitchen in Lembah Subang

What do you do when kids go hungry and they have no one to turn to? Jumble Station came across some children of single parents who for some reason or another cannot feed their children two to three square meals a day.

One single mother locks her children in the house while she goes out to work and the kids will beg for food from which ever neighbour happens to be passing outside their grilled flat. Another single mother, Sumathi Renganathan is undergoing deep depression after being abandoned by her ‘man’. She was living in an abandoned flat meant for demolition where there was no electricity and no nearby neighbours at all. She can’t function normally and chooses to feed her two daughters with cold and days old food because “she doesn’t want her cooking gas to run out!”

These and many others do exist in the very heart of Selangor at Lembah Subang just a mile or so from the old airport at Subang and minutes from the PAWS animal shelter office. For Sumathi, Jumble Station had took her to University Hospital for medical and psychiatric evaluation and then housed her two daughters, Kavi Shalini 4 years and Santhia 2years in a flat that we rented for RM130 a month. It’s a government flat and talk has it that the rental will be raised but that’s another matter.

The flat will be our own Lembah Subang Soup Kitchen and Vennie, a single mother who has since retired will be responsible for the cooking and feeding of hungry children and families thereby ensuring that poor families have at least one good meal a day!

Aside from paying for the rental of the flat, Jumble Station was also able to assist with the set up of the kitchen by sending over an oven cooker, a gas stove, cutlery, plates and other kitchen utensils, a ceiling fan among others which had bee given by other donors.
We are also committed to bringing in groceries and ingredients that will be needed by the cooks to ensure the cooking pots are steaming healthy meals each day for those in need.

It’s a small start but Jumble Station hopes that this soup kitchen will be a place where single parents can also meet up to network and encourage each other while learning new skills from time to time. Sumathi has since been discharged from hospital and is now happily staying at the Stepping Stones Home in Subang where she will have her medical situation monitored and her two little girls cared for daily.

Meanwhile, with the soup kitchen we believe this is yet one more practical way to ease the plight of single parents within the Lembah Subang area and one where other more well off people can step up to assist as well by donating goods or food directly to the families concerned. Those interested can igve a buzz/sms Anne at 016-2202958.