A small gesture that grew into a movement

GIVING HEARTS: The Food for Ramadan team started by two friends called Farah (third from left and third from right) has grown in three years. (Photo by: nur Hidayah Roslan)

FoodForRamadan (FFR) is a non-profit charity drive which aims to help the less fortunate, both Muslim and non-Muslim, by providing basic food essentials during the holy month of Ramadan where acts of service are encouraged.

Established in 2012 by two friends, Ms Farah Sidek, 28 and Ms Farah Bawany 24, are the co-founders of FFR. The idea for it came about from a simple act of spring cleaning. Farah Bawany was clearing out her kitchen cupboard and realized that she had tons of expired items. “The idea came up that why not actually use these food items before they expire by distributing it to those who need it more,” said Farah Sidek.

The first food drive happened that same year, collecting only food items to be distributed to the beneficiaries. With just a few volunteers, both Farahs managed to distribute to almost 70 families. However, logistics wise, they realized it was slightly difficult to manage in terms of storage, transportation and etc. Thus, future food drives consisted of mainly money donations, through which food items were bought from suppliers.

From a modest start of packing food items into plastic bags, today the food is packed in hampers to over 500 families living in Chai Chee area. They have vehicles now to deliver to residents too sick to come and pick them up.

Mdm Latifah Zainul was one of the beneficiaries who received the hamper. “I feel very grateful that there are people out there who take notice of the less fortunate families, including myself,” said the 48-year-old. As a cleaner with a family of four, she is happy to get a good supply of groceries.

The current success of FFR has to come down to over 70 volunteers who pack, deliver, take registers and do general work. One of them was Filzah Yahya who felt that it was heartening to see the smiles on the beneficiaries’ faces after receiving the hampers. “This is actually my first time volunteering and it’s really nice to see there are so many volunteers who actually care about the less fortunate people,” said the 23-year-old NTU student.

Both Farahs are hopeful that FFR will continue to sustain and improve on their success providing for the community. “While we will continue to strive to make FFR bigger and better, we will not lose sight of our primary aim and that is to help the less fortunate families,” said Farah Sidek.