I grew up in Sri Lanka and a distinct memory I have of my home is that our front door was always open. My father, who was a businessman, was constantly receiving people at our home. Many came to him for help on various matters, others were invited to use our house as a pit stop when they came into the city from the village for something. It wasn’t just friends and relatives. My father met a lot of people every day and he was this open hearted, generous soul who invited everyone over for a meal. His generosity was legendary. If he saw a beggar on the way back home, he will either bring the person over to feed them or make sure they get something to eat.

Ever since I can remember, my mother always cooked enormous quantities of food. She knew that there was always someone to feed and the food would never go waste. Growing up in this kind of environment deeply influenced me.

I moved to Malaysia in 2007 and though it is a far more developed country than Sri Lanka, I realised that there are hungry and needy people even in this country that I now call home. I wanted to carry on my Father’s legacy here and that’s how I started by reaching out to those in need, in my local community. If you look around carefully, you will find that there are so many invisible people all around us, who are struggling to make ends meet. I identified some families who were desperately in need of help and these included single mothers, widows, a family that lost their breadwinner, another who lost his income after an accident.

I started by sending them basic groceries on a monthly basis till they were able to get back on their feet. I also started roping in friends and family to contribute what they could.

During the festive season such as Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Deepavali, and Christmas, I make sure that no one I know of is deprived of the simple joy of celebrating these occasions. I work with some local NGOs to help identify those in need and fundraise through my network to send them not just groceries but also festival items and delicacies. I am always reminded of my father, who is now no more, during such occasions. From him I have learnt that there is no meaning in being able to live comfortably or happily celebrating a festival when there are families out there in our neighbourhood who unable to do the same.

I hope to continue doing what I can in any small way to make sure that no family will ever go to bed hungry. That’s the best way I can honour my father’s memory.”


Kalyani Puspangathan is a part of the QI Group’s Corporate Services & Administrative Support Department and it is her hope that there comes a day when no one will have to go hungry.