by Peter Nicoll
In 2005 Pete Nicoll set up a programme within a Buddhist Organisation to feed the poor on the streets of KL. Why? Because it had to be done. The poor were neglected and hungry.
The idea was to have this organization open to all races, religions and gender.
Feexa Nicoll was the first Muslim volunteer in this organization and with her came many friends to the cause.
However, Pete and co founders Maple Keh and Bob Teasdale discovered appropriation of funds donated for feeding the homeless being distributed to the Buddhist Society and not to the Soup Kitchen by other members of the organisation and immediately resigned.
The following day Pete, Bob, Feexa and Maple, bought food and water and continued on their own under an organization called Lotus Planet.
With help from friends food sponsorship and street volunteers increased so that from an original 80 packets of food being delivered only on a Saturday, they managed to operate three days a week and delivered over 400 packets to those in need.
Lotus Planet packed the food on the streets, (in the car park outside the SEC, on the pavement outside Bangkok Bank, outside a bookshop near to Petaling Street), and in all weathers. When it rained they packed inside their cars.
Bob resigned due to business commitments and the organization was renamed Reach Org Sdn Bhd with a Board of Directors as required under the ROC of Malaysia.
The work continued and Reach Org expanded to operate a collaboration with Garden International School for a Street Feeding Programme and Education Programme for underprivileged kids and with SHEB, the social wing of Pemuda UMNO. Reach Org also established the White Ribbon Malaysia campaign and conducted CSR programmes on behalf of corporate bodies linked to its Street Feeding Programme.
Reach Org also worked extensively with various Government Ministries and departments to raise awareness of the plight of the poor.
In 2010 Reach Org applied to become a registered Charitable Society and NGO and this was granted. Reach Out Malaysia was born.
Reach Out apart from Street Feeding Programmes, White Ribbon, Education Programmes and Awareness Campaigns established an Emergency Response Team which works in areas of natural disaster in Malaysia.
From its inception Reach Out has been totally voluntary. It has no premises, offices, or overheads, and all food, medicines and clothes distributed is through sponsorship.
On average Reach Out currently distributes over 2,000 packets of hot and dry food, drinks, and clothes, toiletries and medicines in urban Kuala Lumpur every day of the week, (except Thursdays).
Reach Out has never missed an operating day since its inception.
In 2010 Reach Out managed to reintegrate 402 urban poor into employment by working with the corporate sector in Malaysia.
The current Committee is as follows:
Peter Nicoll – President
Maple Keh – Vice President
Feexa Nicoll – Committee and Sponsorship
Ahmad Zakir Jafar – Committee and Volunteers
Jenny Wong – Committee and Legal/Secretarial
Tiki Keh – Committee.
Our Current Run Leaders are as follows:
Sundays – Hafriz (KL Swifters)
Monday – Hasif
Tuesday – Mustaquim (Zarul and the Protes)
Wednesday – Mustaquim (Zarul and the Protes)
Thursday – No Operations Currently
Friday – 5.00pm Rhian Adlam (Garden International School) – 11.00pm A. Zakir Jaffar
Saturday – 2.30pm Packing Operations Feexa Nicoll – 5.30pm Bus Stand Klang Pete Nicoll
11.45pm Midnight Run Pete Nicoll.
Currently Reach Out donates any excess sponsored goods that cannot be given on the street to a number of orphanages, and also works with other like minded NGO’s in the fight to adicate poverty.
Reach Out acts as a conduit for those on the street to make contact with organizations who specialize in particular needs of those on the street, (women, children, the disabled, HIV victims, etc).
Reach Out is clear in its vision and mission, to raise awareness of the issue of poverty and to take steps to eradicate such through its programmes and campaigns.
Only through its volunteers and steering committee can we bring dignity back to the forgotten who inhabit the streets and doorways of Kuala Lumpur.
The mission is to eradicate all poverty in Malaysia state by state and city by city.
Reach Out is considered to be the ‘Frontline in the Fight To Eradicate Poverty’.