In mid-2014, the Bethel team decided to partner with GSM (Global Street Missions) in their annual Christmas Party for the homeless at Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur. This annual event is part of the GSM (Global Street Missions) ‘Street Outreach Ministry’ which specifically targets those marginalized in society, namely, the homeless street people. Some of the ways GSM (Global Street Missions) reach out to these street people are through feeding programs and by providing shelter. They aim to address not only the physical health of the homeless, but more importantly, their mental and emotional health.
The leaders of GSM (Global Street Mission) and BCC (Bethel Community Centre) met to discuss the various aspects of the event including its theme, securing sponsors, its agenda, etc. The idea for this year’s Christmas Party was that for one night, instead of begging for their survival, these homeless people would be treated as guest of honour. We would provide dinner for the night, band performances and hand out gift packs irrespective of colour, creed or religion.
With respect to the gift packs, the Bethel team reached out to various companies such as Agel and Colgate Palmolive to sponsor items such as energy drinks/supplements, toothbrushes and toothpaste. We also received many donations in the form of clothing which were also included in the gift packs. All the volunteers of Bethel worked after office hours to sort out the items and gift packs. In the end, a total of 500 gift packs were prepared for distribution.
The event was to be held on 12.12.2014 at a carpark at Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur. This area was selected as it is notorious for its homeless population and is considered as one of the hubs where hundreds of homeless people gather. GSM (Global Street Missions) worked closely with Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur and managed to secure high rise tents, tables and chairs for the event.
In the afternoon of the day of the event, the Bethel and GSM (Global Street Missions) team were required to set up premises. However, even before we could finish setting up the tents, table and chairs, hundreds of homeless people began streaming in. We were also touched by the fact that, although this event was for them, many of the homeless helped in the arrangement of tables and chairs.
We began the event by a band performance for this crowd of homeless people. Many of them immediately rushed to the front of the stage and started dancing to the music. Then we served these homeless people food and drinks at their tables. We closed the event with caroling by the choir at .
Though we estimated a maximum of 500 homeless people to come, at the end of the night over 700 homeless people were in attendance.
Whilst we are glad that we could entertain these people with band performances and caroling and provide food, clothing, soaps, toothbrushes and other essential items for 700 people, the sheer volume of homeless people awakens us to the gravity of this problem and the need to arrest it.
The Christmas party not only impacted the homeless of Chow Kit but also each member of Bethel and GSM (Global Street Mission). So much so, that we will be working together again this December for another party at Chow Kit. We also intend to hold a similar event at Petaling Jaya which has a growing population of homeless people.
We would also like to extend our gratitude to all the sponsors and volunteers for making this event a success.
Should you wish to join us in this cause, kindly contact. – [Phillomena Chua] at .