ACTNews, JAKARTA – Since its official launching on Tuesday (3/24), the Free Meal Operation has now involved hundreds of small restaurants (warteg) across various regions under the Koperasi Warteg Nusantara (Kowantara).
Until Saturday (4/4) around 300 wartegs have been actively provided free meals in 13 cities and regencies: Central Jakarta, East Jakarta, West Jakarta, North Jakarta, South Jakarta, Depok, Tangerang City, Tangerang Selatan City, Tangerang Regency, Bekasi City, Bekasi Regency, Bogor City, and Bogor Regency.
There are around 1,072 potential wartegs that will collaborate with ACT, more than the targeted 1,000 wartegs with which ACT plans to collaborate. Of all these wartegs 677 are being verified and 237 are being activated.
ACT Program Director Bambang Triyono said, these wartegs are located across 13 cities and regencies in 3 provinces. These Wartegs are committed to providing free meals funded by Indonesian benefactors through ACT. "The number of our active partnering wartegs continue to grow along with the increasing demand for food amid the COVID-19 pandemic," he explained, Sunday (4/5).
The massive amount of partners, Bambang added, aim to reach the wider community and impoverished people. The number of people whose income has been severely affected continues to increase, especially daily and informal workers. As people are advised to remain home, there isn’t much activities outside, leading also to the decrease of their income
In addition to informal workers, this free meal service is also provided for underprivileged people. In fact, in addition to free meals, ACT also distributes free staple food packages through the Free Food Operation in ACT branch offices in several cities.
The collaboration with the wartegs not only benefits the free meal recipients, but also the warteg owners. Among the warteg owners who benefit from the Free Meal Operation was Sugiono, owner of Warteg Amanah in Sukmajaya, Depok. After the COVID-19 pandemic, the customers of the warteg drastically decreased. He almost decided to close his small restaurant to return to his hometown in Central Java due to declining income.
"I have to pay my employees, the rent, and the daily operational costs. Due to the outbreak, I can’t even pay for the operational costs, "he said.
However, after collaborating with ACT through the Free Meal Operation, Sugiono decided not to close his warteg. The support from ACT to provide free meals has enabled his warteg to continue running. "It feels good to continue working while doing an act of charity like this," he added.
In the future, ACT will continue to collaborate with more wartegs to provide free meals to help people who have been financially affected by the pandemic.