KUALA LUMPUR, July 18 — It was a bold move, as none of the three 19-year-olds behind website Feed Selangor had a background in IT.
Yet, they were driven to create a website that would help connect those in the Klang Valley who are in need of food, money and healthcare to those who could help them.
“It all started when the bendera putih (white flag) movement manifested. I was wondering how I could help these people?” explained Au Jun Wei, one of Feed Selangor’s founders.
“At the time there were so many people, NGOs and especially companies seeking to help but they did not know how. I found all of them on WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram. They were everywhere.”
The three realised the flow of information was inadequate and every day all over social media, cries for help went unanswered.
Feed Selangor is where you can locate food banks in the Klang Valley, find mental help support and guide local NGOs to people in need, etc.
Au is on a gap year from Sunway College where he finished his A-levels a year ago. He wants to study Economics abroad but with the pandemic still raging out there, he has adopted a wait-and-see approach.
“Me and my two close friends, Leong Himn Yau and Karishma Menon, said why don’t we centralise this info so that more people can access it. Hence we decided to make an information hub and include things like mental health clinics and a form for volunteers and NGOs to fill out if they want to help.
“We can then direct them to the place nearest to their location where they can proceed with their philanthropic work.”
Armed with a tiny bit of knowledge from their Information, Technology and Communications classes in Form Five, the trio used YouTube to educate themselves on website building.
It took them seven days to learn to fix things together and use the website building program called WIX.
Feed Selangor finally went online on July 13, 2021.
Au said the hardest part was not setting up the website but getting accurate information from the parties involved.
“The most exhausting and difficult part of it all was getting their information, contact numbers and correct details as we didn’t want misinformation. We contacted every single NGO, company and individual listed on the website.
“Once we got it up, we wanted to reach as many people as possible. Our website is versatile and is easy to manoeuvre.
“For those who want to give food, we have listed all the food bank locations as well as people who need donations. A lot of people have reached out to us and we have been able to link them up.”
Initially they had around 100 entities but it dwindled to around 60. Au said they couldn’t form relationships with some of the interested parties
Undeterred and with two more friends on board — Natasha and Carynn — Feed Selangor is aiming to translate their website into Chinese and Tamil in order to reach a wider audience. (It is available now in Bahasa Malaysia and English.)
The long-term plan is to turn Feed Selangor into an App and add other states besides Selangor and Kuala Lumpur into their database.
Meanwhile, Au said he has been receiving messages and calls from NGOs who say they are overwhelmed by requests for help which is part of the reason they set up Feed Selangor.
“The volunteer page is directly correlated to these pleas for help. We knew people who wanted to help but they can only help those around their area due to the lockdown.
“On Feed Selangor you can find the nearest place to you where you can do the necessary. That way you don’t have to stress out or travel too far. It seems like nowadays there is always someone in need around you but some are afraid to ask for help.
“As for the current lockdown, we must find a balance between the lockdown and living in the open. If we want to be outside right now, following SOPs is the most important thing to do,” he added.
Au said Feed Selangor does not take any donations in cash or kind. They are merely facilitators, middlemen who will direct you to the correct authorities who will take care of it.
They offer avenues and locations for food banks, food distribution centres at petrol stations and mosques, delivery food banks, mental health hotlines like Befrienders KL and Mercy Malaysia, organisations who need donations like The Lost Food Project, Yayasan Food Bank Malaysia, Agrain, Girls Jaga Kita and Gotta Give Back among others.
When asked why he was doing this, Au said: “It’s hard for us to see people suffering and we felt we could do something about it. I went to the same colleagues and having worked together on a previous project called ‘Shield Our Frontliners’ — where we made 3,400 face shields for Hospital Kuala Lumpur, University Malaya Medical Centre and Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah — we said let’s try doing this.
“We’re glad it worked out, we’re getting busier every day and I see people getting the help they need. Overall we hope we grow and get to help more people.”
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