One Helps One: “This Aid Extends the Life of Our Public Kitchen”

The community in Marga Jaya, Bekasi City has established a Public Kitchen to provide meals for people that are financially affected by COVID-19. They can produce 270 servings of food every day for residents in need.

Packages of rice that were given to the public kitchen in Marga Jaya, Bekasi City. (ACTNews / Fhirlian Rizqi)

ACTNews, BEKASI - A public kitchen established on the bank of Bekasi River, Marga Jaya, Bekasi City were bustling with activities that afternoon. The scorching heat of the sun that day did not weaken the spirit of the women from Community Association (RW) 01 to cook together to provide meals for local residents, especially those affected by COVID-19.

The local community works together to establish a public kitchen to serve the people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially migrants, daily workers, and traders in the village. Quite many of them lost their jobs due to temporary closure of many shopping centers and shops.

Bian, Coordinator of the Public Kitchen, told ACT that, along with the local youths, he decided to establish a public kitchen because many of the locals don’t have proper sustenance.

"My friends and I were saddened by the fact that many of the residents here are struggling. Some have nothing to eat but a piece of bread and a cup of sweet tea a day. The food crisis that happens in remote areas also happens here in the center of Bekasi City," Bian told ACTNews.

Women cooking together to serve meals for those financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. (ACTNews / Fhirlian Rizqi)

Bian explained, most of the people living in the village are migrants who work in shopping centers. When the shopping centers were forced to close temporarily, they lost their jobs. They are facing a dilemma because they can’t go to their hometowns, and they don’t have enough provision until Eid, or until the pandemic ends.

 "Some of them wanted to go back home. Having arrived at the Port of Merak, they were told to return to Bekasi. Therefore, they have no one else here because they are not natives. On the basis of caring and solidarity, we decided make a public kitchen, "said Bian.

The public kitchen cooks up to 270 servings every day, 135 servings each for suhoor and ifter. The public kitchen that has been operating since the first day of Ramadan is targeted to be able to serve until the end of the pandemic.

"My friends and I aim to open this kitchen until the pandemic ends. Still, it depends on the incoming donations. To be honest, the locals don’t have enough material resources to keep this kitchen operating for that long. We are doing what we can, including by dedicating time and efforts for this kitchen like what the women have been doing," he continued.

The high sense of solidarity and the spirit of “One Helps One” have driven the youths in RW 01 Marga Jaya to help each other. To support them, ACT, in collaboration with JNE Bekasi, provided staple food for the kitchen.

A total of 200 kilograms of rice was given on Wednesday (5/6) afternoon through the Free Rice Operation. ACT Bekasi Branch Manager Ishaq Maulana said, the Free Food Operation is a manifestation of ACT's commitment to continue to assist the needy during COVID-19 pandemic.

"It is such act of solidarity that we must support. Therefore, ACT and JNE provided this assistance to meet the food needs of our brothers and sisters during Ramadan," said Ishaq.

Bian and the other youths thanked ACT and JNE because the aid has enabled the public kitchen to continue operating.

"Thank you very much to ACT and JNE. This aid extends the life of this Public Kitchen," concluded Bian. []