Friday January 25, 2013
Feeding crowds of faithfuls
By SHALINI RAVINDRAN
Photo by AZLINA ABDULLAH
PREPARATIONS are under way at the Sri Agathiar Sanmarka Gurukulam Malaysia centre as the organisation makes the necessary arrangements for its annual Thaipusam Food Charity (TFC) 2013.
The organisation aims to feed more than 100,000 people over 38 continuous hours during the Thaipusam festivities starting at 7am tomorrow till 7pm the next day at Batu Caves.
Sri Agathiar Sanmarka Gurukulam Malaysia Organisation president Panirselvam Batumalai said the TFC was started 18 years ago to give free vegetarian food and drinks to devotees and visitors at the two-day affair.
“Our main concern, apart from distributing food and drinks, is to ensure that every part of our operation is done systematically and hygienically.
“We have a schedule for the volunteers to follow and they will all be equipped with gloves and hair nets,” Panirselvam said.
He also said the organisation used only stainless steel appliances for hygiene and durability and that unlike most places, visitors would be seated at tables instead of on the floor.
Over the past 18 years, the organisation has perfected its system through trial and error and even invented some new equipment that have come in handy during the event.
“For example, we have tailor-made our rice steamers so that it can now cook up to 25kg of rice within 40 minuets. This speeds up the whole process,” said Panirselvam.
According to assistant secretary M. Thilagavathy, almost three tonnes of rice will be served during the food charity.
“Over the years, we have had overwhelming support for our cause. Which is why most of the provisions were either sponsored or contributed by our members and the general public,” she said.
She also said that more than 600 volunteers would work on shifts to prepare the food and ensure the smooth running of the event.
The organisation will also be having a TFC at the Sri Subramaniar Temple, Kuala Selangor on Sunday.
“As this will be our first time organising a TFC there, we estimate almost 30,000 people to attend,” Panirselvam said.
The organisation is a 21-year-old NGO that aims to take care of the welfare of the needy by providing daily food rations and various other activities.
Those who wish to volunteer their services or donate to the centre can call 03-6187 6773 or email to email@example.com