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Public support for the food truck operator’s charity

KUALA LUMPUR: At Pandan Perdana in Ampang, a food truck operator has been getting a lot of exposure lately for his philanthropic behavior in delivering free meals to children and the elderly.

Zakaria Awang Noh, who runs Kedai Yayar Nasi Campur, which sells mostly Malay food in a parking lot here, originally shot TikTok videos of her distributing free meals that she financed as a charity.

However, after his videos gained popularity, he started receiving donations from friends and followers who wanted to reach people who needed hot and healthy meals. The 32-year-old later began distributing food packages of meat and vegetable meals to children and the elderly.

Zakaria, who hails from Jeli in Kelantan, said she chose to provide free meals to children and the elderly because of her strong sense of filial respect.

“When my parents were alive, I would send them money every month to pay the bills and buy necessities. After I lost my parents to old age in 2020 and 2022, I started to distribute lunch for my family.

“Then I posted some videos on Facebook and TikTok while delivering lunch to the needy. Some of the videos gained traction and people started paying me to give out more free meals.”

The most watched TikTok video he shared in August 2022 had more than 609,000 views and 51,500 “likes” as of January 24.

The two-minute, nine-second video shows Zakaria giving four children a food packet of plain rice and letting them choose whatever side dish they prefer.

The food truck sells 25 to 30 types of fish, meat, chicken and vegetable dishes as well as a wide variety of Malay dishes Monday through Saturday from 11am to 5pm.

Another video that got a lot of attention was giving “Butt”, a Chinese senior citizen, RM300 to buy new clothes for the Lunar New Year celebration. In the video, he mentioned that the money was given to him by a TikTok follower.

“My small-scale self-help project has grown with donations from people watching my videos. These kind people have entrusted their money to me, I am another channel for them to contribute to society.

“It all started with a video I released in mid-2022 that featured some neighborhood kids praying at a nearby mosque. I learned that one of his stories was living in a nearby apartment with seven siblings.”

Zakaria said children often look at the freshly cooked fried chicken she sells, but prefer cheaper meals with their rice.

So he told them to get the plates they wanted and said he wouldn’t charge them as long as they promised not to waste the food.

In addition to handing out free lunches, Zakaria also distributed rice, cooking oil, flour, noodles, biscuits, eggs, sugar and prepackaged juice to neighbors in Kelantan during the recent flood.