After Friday's fajr, Dian Ayu Antika Hapsari and Shella Sabillah Alamri did not waste any time to welcome the day. They brought dozen of meal packages and drive around Malang City, East Java province. Bravely riding along on the back of a scooter to find the elderly and other people in need to distribute the meals to them. They never take the same route twice meaning that they often distribute the meals to different people every time.
Let me introduce you to Malang City's very own community heroes. Dian Ayu Antika Hapsari, usually going by the name Tika - a civil servant, and her close friend, Shella Sabillah Alamri known as Shella. The two friends decided to set up a humanitarian movement together, to help others amid the ongoing pandemic.
Tika told HalalTrip in a video call interview that the pandemic has disadvantaged everyone in the city including the elderly who are still working in order to support themselves. Yet, since the city implemented large-scale social restrictions, the elderly who are working as rickshaw drivers, scavengers, cracker sellers, and many more, are facing difficulties since most Indonesians are staying at home.
That was when Tika and Shella decided to establish Food Sharing Indonesia (@foodsharing.indonesia) on 7th August 2020. This movement has two main activities which are Food Touring and Food Visiting. Their first meal distribution was on 14 August where they aim to run this activity around 6.30 am and after Friday prayers.
Tika and Shella believed that the early hours of the morning is the perfect time to meet the working elderly. If the meal distribution is started later than 7.00 AM, they would have missed the working elderly as they would have already gone to work. "It is called Food Touring," Shella said.
While, Tika said that they also conduct Food Visiting which they distribute meals, goods, and funds to the orphanages, Islamic boarding schools, and Quran hafidz. Their donors expect them to distribute donations to certain groups of people. "We need to deliver people's trust very well," Tika said. Food Sharing Indonesia conducts Food Visiting once a month.
They intend to continue this movement even after the pandemic is over. Shella reminded HalalTrip that the poor, the orphanages, and the needy will sadly remain even after the pandemic ends. On Friday, 18 September 2020, Tika and Shella managed to distribute 210 packaged meals to their target meal receivers.
They also cooperated with Yayasan Galeri Kreatif, Pedal Kuliner, and Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT) in their community movement.
Tika and Shella often send a report to the donors as part of their accountability to manage donations, dedicated to being transparent with the donation funds and allocation. Active on social media, they regularly update their donors and followers on the Food Sharing Indonesia's activities and where their donations are going to. Currently, Food Sharing Indonesia is open to donations from anyone. Furthermore, Food Sharing Indonesia has even received support from people outside of Indonesia, thanks to their great networking. Some examples are Shella's colleagues who are living in Australia are also interested in donating to their movement. Tika's colleague, a Libyan citizen who studies in Malang is also intrigued to contribute to the movement.
Surely, Tika and Shella have met with lots of meals receiver with many different characters. Undoubtedly, most of these meal receivers are so happy to receive the meals before they start work. These people are very thankful to Food Sharing Indonesia who with their pure hearts, travel around the city to find those in need.
"They pray for us, right in front of our eyes," Tika told Halaltrip.
Moreover, Shella also feels so moved when people eat their packed meals right after receiving them.
As this food distribution needs more manpower to do so, Shella and Tika feel that they should seek for help from volunteers. Even if they can manage their careers and this food drive movement, more people are needed for the movement to grow, allowing them to reach out and help even more people.
Shella said that they often announce that they’re open to volunteers to help them in their cause, yet the result has not been so significant. Also, she even distributed offline fliers to everyone she knew to introduce them to the Food Sharing Indonesia movement. Unfazed and determined, she continues her effort to gather more volunteers through her personal and Food Sharing Indonesia's Instagram account to gain more public attention.
Meanwhile, Tika told HalalTrip that Food Sharing Indonesia is planning to open an official bank account for the movement to store the donation funds. This measure will be taken as their solution to avoid the mix up between the movement’s donations and their funds. Currently, Food Sharing Indonesia is still using Shella's bank account and requires the donor to let her know through WhatsApp after transfer some funds.
Tika expressed her future goals for Food Sharing Indonesia on being established as a non-profit foundation, to which Shella also agreed upon. She believes that if this movement can manage the donations more professionally and also be able to expand their reach to help a broader range of receivers, then the establishment will be made.
Both Tika and Shella intend to give soft and life skills training to the poor. Moreover, they plan to lend some of the donation funds, of course with the donors’ consent, to the poor so that it will be used as their capital to open their own business in hopes of improving their quality of life.
"We want to provide the tools, not only feed them," Tika and Shella told HalalTrip.
Food Sharing Indonesia plans to work with some communities like orphanages, the less-privileged, and widows – as long as they are feasible to receive some help or donations. Tika and Shella will do skill assessment tests for those communities to figure out the skills that they need to get them back on their feet. Skills such as cooking and digital marketing are just some of the prospective skills they intend to help with.
This pandemic has tested our empathy as human beings to show our kindness to the people in need. Tika and Shella can gain people’s trust in gathering and distributing donations, packed meals to the right people. Setting an example to us with their actions that we too can help those around us, especially during these trying times. We need to strive collectively against this pandemic.
This too shall pass!
Follow their journey on Instagram at @foodsharing.indonesia
Know any similar inspirational community heroes around you? Comment down below or simply write in to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear their stories!
Photos credit belong to Dian Ayu Antika Hapsari, Shella Sabillah Alamri, and Food Sharing Indonesia.