As we all know by now, the pandemic has hit Malaysians in different ways. It was especially tough during the several celebrations that fell during the course of the Movement Control Order (MCO) including Good Friday, Puthandu (Tamil New Year), Wesak Day, Ramadan and the upcoming Hari Raya Puasa.
Fortunately, several organisations have pledged or raised funds to help the less unfortunate during this trying time. One such organisation is the University of Hertfordshire Alumni Association Malaysia (UHAAM) whose aim is to help minors who are dependent on charity homes and are still in school.
UHAAM was about to kick off a charity drive in April where they planned to spend the weekend reading to children and hold art classes. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the MCO, these plans had to be put off.
The charity drive turned into a plan to distribute essential items and food to homes to help the community get ready for Raya. UHAAM will also be distributing educational supplies at the same time to help these children and youths prepare for school.
Adding a spark to this event is Des Puffmaister’s Popcorn, run by an alumnus and Creative Communications lecturer of University of Hertfordshire, Jonathan Yip. Des Puffmaister was started when Yip’s colleague lamented how renting a popcorn cart for his students’ final semester exhibition was ridiculously pricey. On an impulse, Yip decided to purchase a commercial popcorn machine and serve guests while charging his colleague a meal for rental.
This one-off experience eventually turned into a passion project. With lots of supplies left and time on his hands, Yip decided to pop corn for charity, and put his skill-set from the lecture halls to work.
“Over the years working in the creative industry both in the UK and Malaysia, I realised that popcorn was something that kept people in awe every time it was made in front of an audience, just like magic,” he said.
His first charity session at the Myanmar Chin Community School cemented his mission when he found out all of the children there had not tasted popcorn before. Their eyes lit up when they saw the popcorn being made and smelled the fragrant aroma of popcorn in the air.
Just imagine the joy and wonder in their faces when they each held a popcorn-filled cup of their own. It is hard to believe that a simple snack that is so accessible to us at the cinemas is not experienced by other parts of the community.
In a mission to help more lesser-known charities such as Agathians Shelter and Persatuan Kebajikan Kanak-Kanak Terencat Akal Malaysia, Des Puffmaister is running a pay-first-redeem-later promotion by matching each popcorn cart booking with a popcorn party at selected care homes chosen or recommended by fans.
It’s encouraging to know that many Malaysians are stepping up to do what they can to help the community in these trying times. It’s truly #kitajagakita