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Saturday, 15 April 2017 00:00

Family Organized Charity Sale to Spread Love

Written by  Julie Yen Yu Chu, Melaka / Translated by Ong Mooi Lin

Kee family started to hold charity sale of vegetarian fish porridge to spread love and kindness since 2013. Picture shows a loyal customer, Wong Siew Chin, arriving at the venue for a take-away and making a donation of RM500. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]

The bowls of steaming hot porridge contained the love of the Kee family. Their thoughtfulness in organizing the charity sale has received loyal support from customers, thereby spreading the spirit of love and kindness further and wider.


“We haven’t done any charity sale this year. How about organizing one?”
“Great! I will look for a venue.”
“We shall donate the proceeds from the charity sale towards the building fund of Tzu Chi International School in Melaka!”

It has been 21 years since volunteers Kee Lee Fong and Kee Lee Hoon, as well as, their family members, committed themselves to the recycling activity on every Tuesday evening. It is also their family gathering time after the recycling activity. In February 2017, during their casual chats after a recycling activity, the charity sale was suggested, leading to the ripple effects of love and kindness.

The power of kindness

The four siblings from the Kee family, together with their spouses and children, formed a team of 12 and initiated the first charity sale of vegetarian fish porridge in 2013. They have organized 13 charity sales to-date, and donated all the sale proceeds to various charitable organizations and institutions. Despite the fact that they have their own professions and are not involved in vegetarian fish porridge business, for charity’s sake, they created their own exclusive tag of “Kee Family Charity” and uniform. As their charitable efforts were gradually known, they gained loyal support from many customers.

This time around, it was decided that the sale proceeds will be donated towards the building fund of Tzu Chi International School in Melaka. All family members involved gave their best to publicize the charity event. Kee Wee Tiong especially, approached and invited everyone whom he came across. When approached for the charity sale venue, Director of Parkland Group, Yap Kim Huat, gave his full support through donation and provision of venue to hold the event. He also helped to contact another organization to hold a blood donation campaign at the same time. He said, “Crowd is important for a charity sale, and a blood donation campaign would draw the crowd here.” Thus, the charity sale was extended to a larger scale from what was originally planned.

The sisters, Lee Fong and Lee Hoon shared happily, “Our younger brother, Wee Tiong is really great. He has successfully secured more than 30 sponsors. This time, we will deliver 500 servings of vegetarian fish porridge to the underprivileged groups, and prepare another 500 servings for sale on that day.” In response, Wee Tiong explained joyfully, “In order to raise more school building funds, the previous purchase-donate approach (sending the porridge to underprivileged groups on behalf of the donors according to their number of orders) is transformed to fund pooling of any amount for the underprivileged groups and education. This had won overwhelming support from many.”

Overwhelming support from loyal customers

On April 15, 2017, the sky was still dark at around 6 am but the Kee family members were already busily getting the cookware and ingredients ready. Suddenly, the chief cook, Lee Fong, realized that something was wrong with one of the stoves as the water was not boiling. So she discussed with her brother-in-law, Kwong Teng Keh on a solution with only two working stoves. The unexpected incident jeopardized their plan of cooking 1,000 servings of porridge due to time constraint, and they were helpless as the stove was too hot to be repaired.

Teng Keh explained that two stoves were enough for previous charity sales but due to the large order this time, an extra stove was needed. He even made a stove stand for it. Fortunately, Lee Fong was quick in acquiring a stove from a volunteer to resolve this issue smoothly.

At around 7 am, the first pot of steaming-hot porridge was ready to be served! Everyone started to pack for delivery to the old folks’ homes and centres for children with disabilities so that the elderly and children could enjoy the porridge while it was still hot. Lee Fong’s husband, Tan Seng Sun, then started his delivery for the day.

The first customer, Zhang Xin Fu, arrived for a take-away before going to his shop to start his business. A loyal supporter, he said, “I would support them wherever they organize the charity sale. Kee Family’s porridge is delicious and healthy. I am rest assured and confident because I have witnessed Tzu Chi’s charitable work; and this is for the building fund of Tzu Chi International School, so I must come to offer my support.” Lee Fong said joyfully that when she told Xin Fu about the building of the school, he contributed RM1,000 and said that he would like to be the first customer to support the charity sale. Now, his wish was fulfilled!

Ripples of love

The venue turned lively at 9 am, the scheduled commencement time for the event. As it was a public holiday, many brought their family members, the young ones brought their friends, and volunteers arrived in groups to support and enjoy the delicious meals. The Kee family members were busily cooking and entertaining customers. At the other tent, more than ten volunteers seized the opportunity to promote to the customers and blood donors about the concepts of Tzu Chi’s education and information about the school.

Wee Tiong’s business partner, Khoo Cheng Kiong, was touched by the Kee family members’ enthusiasm in recycling activity, which includes their 80-year-old father’s persistence in recycling activities. Thus, he started joining them in recycling activity every Tuesday for the past seven years. Whenever there is a charity sale, he would contribute in cash and support in action. He delayed his trip back to his hometown in KL just for this event and arrived with his wife and three children. He said smilingly, “It is good to expose the children to an environment filled with kindness since young!” At volunteers’ invitation, his children brought home two bamboo banks to contribute their little efforts towards the school building fund.

Cheng Kiong was moved by the selfless love and kindness of the Kee family in participating in recycling activities. After his own involvement, his behaviour and attitude have changed for the better gradually. He also started to invite his friends to do kind deeds and offer their support for the charity sale. He said, “It not only allow the underprivileged to enjoy some food, but is also contributing towards education. So my friends are willing to render their support in cash and in effort.” Additionally, he took the initiative to donate RM1,000 for the school building fund.
 
Educate through setting example

Suddenly, a loud cheering broke out with Kee family members laughing happily. It was the presence of another loyal customer, Wong Siew Chin, who came for a take-away and made an extra donation of RM500. Every donation received was recorded clearly for issuance of official receipts by Tzu Chi. While jotting down the amount contributed by Siew Chin in the record booklet, Kee Lee Teng found out that the RM10,000 target was achieved. That was why she was cheering happily, boosting everyone’s spirit. Siew Chin responded jovially, “I am doing my best within my means for education’s sake. We are supporting at frontline while Kee family have been organizing from behind. While working together, the rapport among the Kee family members has also become progressively closer. It feels really heartwarming to see that!”

Upon hearing that, Lee Teng expressed with joy, “Thank you for the support and kindness showed by many. Tzu Chi’s educational concept of instilling character education and humanistic values is significant to today’s society. Our family members are happy doing it for we concur with it.” Lee Hoon echoed, “Though my father has aged and is unable to be here today, he has supported this charity sale in cash.”

All the Kee family members fully supported the charity sale and bore all the costs of the tools, ingredients and other expenses among them. Lee Hoon and husband, Tan Seng Sun, also donated a classroom (RM60,000) generously. Seng Sun shared, “From what I have watched on Da Ai TV programmes, Tzu Chi is doing an excellent job! And now, Tzu Chi is building a school in Melaka, so I just do what I can to support.” Lee Hoon added in agreement, “We must seize this rare affinity of building a Tzu Chi school in Melaka.”

Wong Chew Yee and Kwong Hui were the younger second generation in the family, who served with friendly smiles at the counter that day. They started to follow their family members for charity sale since they were in secondary school. Despite having to wake up at dawn and exhaust their energy at the end of the event, they were filled with joy and satisfaction. Chew Yee said, “The charity sale events have bonded our family members closer together. The compliments from the customers and support from those, who have been our loyal customers, brought a sense of achievement!” She added determinedly, “I will pass on the selfless love of my family and turn it into a legacy.” Kwong Hui responded, “Education is very important as it could impact a person’s life. Our parents and elders have led us to do kind deeds by setting examples. This is also a form of education.” Currently pursuing her tertiary education, she was imperceptibly influenced by the words and actions of the elders back home since young. Now, she would offer help to those in need and pick up recyclables whenever she saw them. By putting these acts of kindness and love into practice in her daily life, she has indirectly influenced her roommate too. This has further reinforced her belief of the significance and impact of character education.

Promoting Tzu Chi’s educational philosophy

Some public members who were there to donate blood only learnt about Tzu Chi International School in Melaka that day, and were curious about it. Dai Wee Boon came with two young kids. She listened to volunteers’ explanations while enjoying her meals, and posted some questions to clear her doubts. She remarked in agreement, “The school syllabus is well-planned with static and dynamic activities. My eldest child is four years old now, and he probably has the opportunity to study in this Tzu Chi school.”

Upon hearing about the Tzu Chi school for the first time, Liew Jun Wei offered to be a Tzu Chi monthly donor to contribute consistently to the building fund. He expressed, “I have just started working, and I am doing what I can within my limited means. The volunteers invited me to the ground-breaking ceremony of the school and I will surely arrange time to participate.”

This event is also for the public members to learn more about Tzu Chi and understand its educational concepts. That day, many of them were drawn by the publicity information spread through newspapers and Facebook. Looking at the huge crowd, Yap Kim Huat said appreciatively, “Manpower and resources are important factors to make a successful event. This charity sale received such overwhelming support, thanks to the support of some kind organizations, and the thoughtfulness of the Kee Family and Tzu Chi in organizing it. I look forward to an opportunity for cooperation in future.” Volunteers also extended their appreciation to him and the company manager, and shared Tzu Chi’s educational concepts and visions with them.

A genuine kind thought from the Kee family had turned into actions, which eventually moved the hearts of many and evoked the kindness and love in them. This time, the Kee family members had worked hard with concerted efforts, and with support from their loyal customers in spreading the news, thereby creating a ripple of love to support the construction of Tzu Chi school in Melaka. It is also a testimony of the impact and influence of the selfless love of a family.

 

 

On April 15, 2017, the sky was still dark at around 6 am, but the Kee family members were already busily getting the cookware and ingredients ready for cooking. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]   Wong Chew Yee (2nd right) and Kwong Hui (1st right) are the younger second generation in the Kee family. They started to follow their family members for charity sale events since secondary school days and are still happily doing it. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]

On April 15, 2017, the sky was still dark at around 6 am, but the Kee family members were already busily getting the cookware and ingredients ready for cooking. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]
 
Wong Chew Yee (2nd right) and Kwong Hui (1st right) are the younger second generation in the Kee family. They started to follow their family members for charity sale events since secondary school days and are still happily doing it. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]
 
Kee Wee Tiong (1st right) recruited 30 over sponsors for the porridge, which were delivered to various underprivileged groups. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]   Many came to support after learning about the charity sale from newspapers and Facebook. Volunteers shared information about Tzu Chi International School with them. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]

Kee Wee Tiong (1st right) recruited 30 over sponsors for the porridge, which were delivered to various underprivileged groups. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]
 
 
Many came to support after learning about the charity sale from newspapers and Facebook. Volunteers shared information about Tzu Chi International School with them. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]
 
Khoo Cheng Kiong brought his wife and children to support the event. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]   Volunteers took the opportunity to extend their appreciation to Yap Kim Huat, Director of Parkland Group, and the manager, and shared with them Tzu Chi’s educational concepts and visions. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]

Khoo Cheng Kiong brought his wife and children to support the event. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]
 
 
Volunteers took the opportunity to extend their appreciation to Yap Kim Huat, Director of Parkland Group, and the manager, and shared with them Tzu Chi’s educational concepts and visions. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]