Since 2003, The Lighthouse Feeding Center has become a place where the homeless and hungry come to have a meal while availing themselves to counseling and basic medical care.
The centre, which started operation on March 19, 2003 runs on public donations with backing from the Penang Office for Human Development (a social service arm of the Catholic Church’s Penang Diocese) and currently feeds an average of 120 people, whom the volunteers refer to as guest.
“Who are these people?. People rejected by their families, marginalised by the society, ex-addicts, drug abusers, and alcoholics,” said The Lighthouse manager Belevendiran Joseph.
One of The Lighthouse donor , Erina Law said that she feels pity for the homeless, especially when they are hungry during the rainy days.
“If I have the time, that’s when I come here (The Lighthouse Drop In Center) to cook a simple meal for them, maybe a chicken, vegie (vegetables) and soup, just to fill up their stomach,” she added.
Recently, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng announced that that he is giving RM20,000, from his allocation to The Lighthouse drop-in centre and added that the effort taken by NGOs such as POHD should be commended for helping out those with no capacity to help themselves.
He also reiterated that the state government will not take action against soup kitchens in Penang.
Earlier, Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said that soup kitchens would be barred from operating within a 2km zone in the city centre of Kuala Lumpur as their operations are encouraging homelessness and reflected poorly on the image of the nation’s capital.
The federal government has also launched an operation codenamed “Ops Qaseh”, to move the homeless from the streets in the national capital into shelters to “rehabilitate” them.
* The video was originally published on November 3, 2012.