IT ALL STARTED back in October 2013 when BGC organized a trip to Brickfields to help out in the street feeding project which caters to those who are homeless, those suffering from social ills like drug addiction, street violence and drunkenness.
Like a traveler in a foreign land, everything seemed so new to me. I was (and still am!) amazed at the work and effort that has been put through to make the project successful which is a joint effort by YMCA, Kenosis and Trinity Methodist Church PJ.
As a newbie, I started helping out in the food packing and serving the guests. The guests will start trickling in as early as 12:30 pm and they will walk towards the hall to wait for the food to be served. A system has properly been set in place, from the number of cutleries that are given out (it’s a way of keeping track how many guests come that day), how the food is packed and served to the visit to the clinic.
What I thought was an easy task wasn’t so easy after all! Learning up the system and trying very hard not to make a boo-boo out of it was crucial or else you will face the wrath of our dear Aunty Susan, probably the oldest volunteer there.
Anybody who is not used to it will probably not explain that if the system is not followed, it can possibly turn the whole Saturday into a marketplace and when we deal with the people from the street, we have to be extra careful and alert at all times.
A brief is given out every Saturday to all the volunteers and this is followed by Praise and Worship and a short message.
By 1:30 pm, we will usually see the hall packed, unless it is the festive season when some of them may have gone back to their families or to other gatherings.
The guests will continue trickling in and it’s really heartwarming when you see the regulars greeting the volunteers – hugs, the “hellos” and a little bantering at times – almost like how you will act if you have not seen a friend or family member for a long time.
One of my favorite times is the Praise and Worship. Despite only having a guitar and a normal sound system, it’s probably one of the most enjoyable sessions. Led by the volunteers from Trinity Methodist Church, the singing is amazing and united. No song book in hand, yet that does not stop anyone of them from clapping their hands and singing along.
The second part of the ministry is the medical assistance to the guests when they will need to register and take a number. While we think it may be petty reasons that they’re visiting a doctor, we know deep down that they are looking for someone to have a chat with. And rest assured, most of them usually come out looking very happy and contented.
We usually end the ministry by 3:00 pm when it will be taken over by the Kenosis workers who then remove the canopy from the premises and clean the dishes.
What used to be a free Saturday has now become a routine at Brickfields, which is something I have grown to love and enjoy. It has been a humbling experience for me and made me realized how privileged I am to have so much in so many ways. I am so used to my own comfort zone and this is definitely an eye-opener.
My respect goes out to Pastor Richard and all the volunteers for being so faithful in serving in this ministry and I for one know that it is not an easy commitment.
Reflecting on the message by our speaker, Chew Phye Keat on 16 February 2014, I pray that God will continue to work through me to make a difference, whether it is small or big.
He ended the message with this quote by Nelson Mandela:
Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.
I hope I will be that great generation.
~ Mei Chin ~
If you have a heart to join Mei Chin & others to serve our Brickfields neighbors, please let Calvin Loh know. You can go any Saturday or join him last Saturday of the month.
(This article first appeared in the March 2014 Bangsar Beacon newsletter)