Social enterprise Charlie’s Cafe join up with Robin Hood Army to feed the poor.
If I’m being honest with you, at this point, Charlie’s Cafe puts the ‘char’ in ‘charity.’ Leading the way for other F&B social enterprises, proprietors Sonny and Debra are also behind another noble cause: street feeding.
Already well-known for their pay-it-forward business model as well as being a launch pad for aspiring entrepreneurs, this mission to feed the underprivileged came to fruition with the help of the compassionate team of individuals that make up Robin Hood Army (RHA) KL, the local limb of popular street-feeders organisation based in India.
“It happened spontaneously. They (Robin Hood Army) read about us and came to us as customers first. From there they asked if we could sponsor meals for their cause. We readily said yes,” explains local hero Desonny Tuzan.
Alvina Ng of Robin Hood Army is the person in-charge of picking up the food from Charlie’s Café, as the volunteers are tasked with the collection based on their proximity to participating restaurants.
“I always eat at an udon restaurant down the street so when Charlie’s opened and I found out about their modal I decided to try my luck more than a year ago. Good for us they said yes,” she reveals.
The Malaysian arm of Robin Hood Army was founded by a group of college friends, who were inspired by the founder of original Robin Hood Army in India.
“In India, the idea was to collect leftover food from restaurants and distribute it to the needy. But of course, different country different way of managing. Here in Malaysia the food that we collect are cooked new for us to give out,” Alvina says.
Apart from Charlie’s Cafe, a few other restaurants also take part in this initiative, including Mani’s Curry House and Ryan Bistro in Sentul, with each eatery providing 30 packets of freshly cooked food for RHA to distribute every Monday.
The street feeding by RHA is done at a street close by Central Market, where the homeless and the needy will start lining up by 8pm every Monday – for the food and water brought over by Alvina and friends.
By 9pm it’s over, all the packets given out. The benefactors linger, enjoying the food and the company of their friends.
Meanwhile, Alvina walks back to her car parked not far away, mentally planning next week’s pick up.
If you would like to volunteer with Robin Hood Army, you may join their group here.
Apart from the food drive, Robin Hood Army also collects mini toiletries through a box placed right outside Charlie’s Cafe. Drop by the restaurant for the delicious chicken chop while donating the hotel soaps and shampoos that you’ve accumulated over time.
This story is part of an ongoing collaboration with Charlie’s Cafe to showcase the different aspects of the social enterprise F&B outlet.
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