Youth Prep Centre arranging food and personal supplies for stranded college students
By Linda Edward
ALAMESRA, Sulaman – Disturbed by the suffering of students who are experiencing hunger during the measures to contain the coronavirus, nearly a dozen young Catholic and several Muslim volunteers from the Youth-Prep Centre (YPC) mobilized themselves to source for food donations and other personal hygiene items for 150 students from six local colleges and universities.
Dwana Andrew, key personnel in YPC, said that the students were stranded because they could not go home before the Movement Control Order (MCO) went into effect in mid-March due to financial and time constraints.
“Most of them are from the rural. They are stuck in their hostels and rented rooms at Alamesra, University Apartments and Angkasa. It would have been hard for them to travel home as most of them do not have the means to do so, plus the short notice of the order,” she said.
It has further been revealed that these students, even before the MCO, have been provided with food supplies by YPC throughout their tertiary education here as they come from poor families.
Youth-Prep Centre under the Good Shepherd Services has established a Food Bank since 2016 for college students. “Most of our donors are local individuals and organizations. Students can come here and get food whenever they are in need,” said Andrew, and most of them are college students.
“With the MCO in force, it has affected their routine and restricted their movement to get food. Family members could not afford to send them money. Some students are working part time but now in the situation they can’t do so.
“Upon announcement of the first phase MCO ending Mar 31, the students were somewhat convinced that they can still carry on with what provisions they have left. Now that it has been extended to Apr 14, it is obvious that they do not have enough.
“So during the MCO, YPC has been actively requesting food aid from generous donors and has been distributing food to the students in their respective hostels so they do not have to travel out.
“We are connected through our Food Bank group chat which enables us to receive updates on their daily conditions,” said Andrew.
Andrew added that Youth-Prep Centre is also in communication with their lecturers, students’ representatives and counsellors and are currently doing an on-going survey among college students to identify more students who need help during this uncertain pandemic and to know how COVID-19 has affected them and how YPC can help in the long term.
From the Food Bank, each student receives one set of food and personal hygiene supplies which can approximately last them for 14 days. Food items consist of rice, Tiger biscuits, canned sweet corn, canned chicken curry, soy sauce, dried raw anchovies, fried rice seasoning, milk in boxes, tomato sauce, eggs in 10’s, 3 in 1 drinks – 5 small packets of each Nona Teh Tarik, Kopiko and Milo.
Meanwhile for personal hygiene supplies, each student is provided with toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, anti-bacterial soap bar, hand sanitizer, sanitary pads (ladies) and washing detergent.
Youth-Prep Centre continues to appeal for donations of such provisions for the young students. Generous donors are urged to contact Dwana at 010-940 2033 or Cherlanne at 010-930 1355. For more updates, follow them in Facebook YouthPREP Centre Alamesra and Instagram @ypcalamesra.