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A Letter from The Founder Of Touch*A*Life DAILY MEAL PROJECT

mavis_photo.jpg Greetings,

I’m Mavis Ching and this is how I came to start Touch*A*Life

For the very many years that I was wife, mother of two incredible children, and music teacher, life was good in Malaysia. Nothing was wrong. Yet, I felt unfulfilled. There was something missing – a piece of the jigsaw was not quite in place. I felt wasted simply going through the paces from day to day.

I began to do some social work, and that felt good. Then in August 2004, I learnt of a Mr. T.S. Narain in Surabaya. He has, for 30 years, been distributing food to the poor. Something about this man, now 80, and in a wheelchair, touched me to the core. I hurried to meet him.

There, in a cool little lane by Mr. Narain’s home, I was stunned by the sight of 150 people, from the very old to the babes in arms, squatting patiently at 7 a.m., awaiting for the distribution to start. They were the poor and homeless of Surabaya. By noon, at least 250 people had come to collect their ration for the week.

I had never in my comfortable life seen anything like it. And I was moved by Mr. Narain’s simplicity, faith and compassion. In need of time to reflect upon and digest all that I had seen, I went on to Yogyakarta (Jogja) to visit the wonderful Buddhist monument of Borobudur, but was entranced, instead, by Jogja itself. Jogja was beautiful and it felt like ‘home’, but its streets were studded with beggars. So many people were living on the streets. I felt a strange sense of powerlessness and empowerment all at the same time. It was a different person who returned to Malaysia .

I went again in December 2004 with my friends Hwi Bee and Susan. We shared a vision. We would cook for the street people of Jogja. We knew no one. We had nowhere to cook. We didn’t even have a knife between us. Ah, but cook we did – for 120 orphans and homeless people. It was total joy! And that was the beginning of Touch*A*Life.

ccf06132007_00005.jpgIn the year 2006, through the eruption of the volcano Mt. Merapi, the massive earthquake that shattered much of Yogyakata, and a tsunami that hit its southern coast, Touch*A*Life was present to provide emergency relief of more than 6000 food packages to the many who found themselves homeless and temporarily helpless. Touch*A*Life cooked and packed the meals ion its kitchen for distribution for destroyed orphanages and welfare home, and also to the street people. It also went to makeshift kitchens in evacuation camps and flattened villages to cook meals together with the people living in tents among the devastation. It was and continues to be a life-changing event for so many in dire need of daily sustenance.

Although Touch*A*Life Project joyfully serves food to all who need it, the main objective of Touch*A*Life is beyond food.

Mother Teresa said, “The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved.” Touch*A*Life agrees, and uses a meal as a happy and practical way to reach out to the many lonely people everywhere. Loneliness is not the monopoly of the poor. That is why all are welcome at our serving where each guest is greeted respectfully with smiles and cheery words.

Touch*A*Life’s permanent base is now in Seam Reap , Cambodia. This project provides nutritious vegetarian (meat-free meal) lunches free of charge to those who are in temporary need of relief. Although no payment is expected, recipients are encouraged and contribute when and what they can, and to volunteer their assistance in any way possible. If you would like to start a Touch*A*Life Project where you live please feel free to write to me at: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Touch*A*Life (Malaysia)
606 Jalan Asean 3 ,
Taman Asean, Malim,
75250 , Malacca
Touch*A*Life (Cambodia) (1331-10-MEL)
No 64,
Group 25, Banteay Chas Village,
Siem Reap,