BEAUTY IN THE FRIDGE

#KibarBenderaPutih: What to know about these 6 local sites that let you find or offer help

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Though the white flag movement or #KibarBenderaPutih has lost much of its virality in the past weeks, it does not mean that there are no longer individuals and families in desperate need of aid. At the same time, the work isn’t over for those willing to help.

Many businesses have taken it upon themselves to supply aid packages to help the needy, and common folk have also banded together to start beneficial initiatives.

There’s no end yet to the sites and apps that have been popping up, meant to highlight those in need and/or the locations of food banks. Based on what we’ve found thus far, here are 6 such local platforms.

1. Feed Selangor

Behind Feed Selangor are three 19-year-olds with no background in IT. As they watched the white flag movement grow, they were compelled to do what they could to help.

How it works: On it, you will find the usual food bank locators, though mainly focused on those within Selangor and KL. However, the youth behind Feed Selangor were aware that some people’s needs went beyond food.

The 3 main ways in which Feed Selangor offers help / Image Credit: Feed Selangor

Hence, they also have a page where people can find help for their mental wellbeing, and another for people to volunteer their manpower at various organisations helping the needy. If you wish to donate directly to organisations, there is a “Donate” page that lists beneficiaries.

Things to note: Feed Selangor is not a site where you can post requests for help, unless you are an organisation needing volunteers. Therefore, there is no signup or login process. The only point where you would have to provide personal information is if you are applying to volunteer.

The site is available in English and BM.

Use this if:

  • You want to find a more organised list of food banks in certain areas to request for help for yourself or on the behalf of someone else;
  • You want help for your mental wellbeing;
  • You want to volunteer at organisations to help the needy;
  • You want to donate to organisations helping the needy.

2. foodbank-MY

Created by 2 software engineers, Zulkarnain Abdullah and Ilyas Foo, foodbank-MY appears to be mainly a site where you can easily find food bank locations on a map.

How it works: On the map, you’ll see food basket icons or yellow and green dots. These dots indicate how many food banks (which include individuals offering aid) are concentrated within that area.

Image Credit: foodbank-MY

For those requesting help, you should enable your location services so you can be pinpointed more accurately on the map. The information you can leave includes your name, phone number, or email address, and the type of aid you need. Those offering aid go through a similar process, but share what they can provide instead.

Things to note: The site does not make it compulsory for you to leave your details, whether you’re someone in need or offering help. This means that you may be able to locate food banks or the needy on the map, but if they didn’t leave a number or email, it would still be extremely hard to contact them in the first place.

However, it appears that many, if not all, of the food bank locations listed have had their information taken from other sites like Sambal SOS or Kita Jaga Malaysia. foodbank-MY consolidates this information in one map, possibly giving users more options as a food bank may be listed on one site, but not on the other.

The site is available in English and BM.

Use this if: You need a starting point to find food banks, but know that you most likely have to head to the other sites in order to get more information (the links to such are given in each food bank’s card on foodbank-MY).

3. Kita Jaga Malaysia

Upon seeing the benefit of digitalising the white flag movement, Terato Tech, an app development company in Bangi, created Kita Jaga Malaysia to help the public. Some notable products by the team before this have been CIMB Clicks, Malaysia Airlines Going Places, Axiata Cup, and more.

How it works: Using Google Maps application programming interface (API), the site displays red and blue pins, which showcase white flags and food banks in an area respectively.

Requesting or offering help is straightforward with no registration required. Just provide your name, phone number (optional for those offering help), and what you need/can offer in aid.

Terato Tech has been constantly updating the interface, and one of its biggest benefits at the moment is that instead of a phone number that one has to copy-paste, it provides a direct call and WhatsApp button to reach beneficiaries.

The team is also working with GoGet to offer a “Hantar Barang” option for contactless deliveries between providers and the needy. Do note that this service is not free, and the providers will have to bear the cost.

Things to note: Kita Jaga Malaysia is currently available as an app on iOS devices, with the team stating that an Android version is being developed.

In its efforts to minimise scamming, the site/app will also provide helpers with a warning if a red pin (white flag) they’ve clicked on has used the same phone number multiple times to request for help in the past. The site is only available in BM.

Use this if: You want to be easily reached when you request help, or to have an easy way to provide help. Terato Tech is still improving the site over time based on users’ feedback, so it is one of the most active sites for the white flag movement at the moment.

Honorary mention: One site that performs extremely similar functions is KitaBoleh!, with one of the main differences being that it is available in English, BM, and Mandarin, making it more accessible to the public. Another difference is that KitaBoleh!’s requests for help have their needs neatly categorised so helpers can tell what they require at a glance.

4. Ma-Kasih

Ma-Kasih is a project founded by Shern Low and developed by a team of 11 Malaysians who are currently residing across the world in areas like London, New York, Sydney, etc. They include graduate students and working professionals who wanted to do something to help fellow Malaysians.

How it works: Similar to the aforementioned sites, Ma-Kasih connects aid providers to those in need. But unlike the other two, it doesn’t showcase the locations of food banks across Malaysia.

Those requesting help on Ma-Kasih have to provide their address, number of beneficiaries, their phone number, what aid they need, and a 4-digit PIN number that will be required to make changes to their requests later. You can tick the Halal or vegetarian diet options if you fall under either dietary restriction.

If you’re offering help, you can click on the “wave” emoji that represents a household in need, and contact the provided number directly or drop off some care packages to the address. Ma-Kasih has provided a helpful button that allows you to buy meals or groceries on foodpanda to be directly sent to the address too.

Things to note: Ma-Kasih has a separate button that allows you to request for help on behalf of someone else. To access it from the homepage, however, instead of clicking “I Need Help”, click “I Want to Help”.

This will bring you to the full map, and you will see a blue “Report for Others” button. To help on someone’s behalf, you will need to know their general address, and you can provide your phone number if you don’t know theirs. Volunteers can then contact you for further information to reach the beneficiary.

The site is available in English, BM, and Mandarin.

Use this if: You’re afraid your request for help may go unnoticed on the more saturated sites like Kita Jaga Malaysia, or if you want to easily send some hot meals or small groceries to the needy with the click of a few buttons.

5. Sambal SOS

Previously known as the Bendera Putih app, it’s been rebranded to Sambal SOS in order to extend its purpose past the movement. It was created in a matter of 4 days by Malaysian student volunteers with software developing experience.

The homepage / Image Credit: Sambal SOS

How it works: You can filter food bank or SOS icons on the map to reduce clutter if you’re visiting the site for a specific purpose.

Those requesting help (“Report SOS”) should upload an image of the front of their home or a WhatsApp conversation (if you’re requesting help on someone’s behalf), provide an address, remarks on what’s needed, and a phone number.

The food bank locations listed come from crowdsourcing, and are thus quite barebones with no immediate contact number available.

If you want to help, you should reach out directly to the SOS locations, since there’s no option to create a pin that showcases your location as a helper. If you’re a food bank, you can fill in this form to let the team know and be added to the map.

Things to note: Each SOS report will be reviewed by a person for authenticity, and will either be approved or rejected within 24 hours. To avoid scammers, Sambal SOS also requires that you login with either a Google account or your Facebook.

If you have trouble with accessing the site after logging in, clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page should work. The site is available in English, BM, and Mandarin.

Use this if: You want to request help or offer help directly to those in need with the assurance that each request is personally reviewed by the team to reduce scams.

6. Waymaker

Waymaker is not a site that was created for the purpose of the white flag movement, but it’s gained more traction following that. It first went live on February 14, 2021 after founder and CEO Arun Kumar realised that a lot of help was usually extended on an organisational level, which can cater to the general masses.

But what this meant was that specific people with specific needs would still have their requests go unfulfilled. Hence, Waymaker was started as a solution to address this gap.

How it works: Rather than using a map function, Waymaker went the more personal route by showcasing listings of requests. This enables users to immediately see who’s posting the request, what they need, who it’s for, and where they’re at, rather than being overwhelmed by countless icons on a map.

Users who want to request or offer help must create an account on the site, where you’ll provide standard profile information, including your gender, spoken language, ethnicity, and religion.

This specificity is required because Waymaker enables requesters to select specific demographics that would be able to see their requests. For example, you can choose if you want help for needs that are gender, culture, language, or age group-specific.

Those who can see these requests can then respond to offer help, and the requesters can pick who they want to reach out to. Once that’s done, the responder can then contact the requester. This avoids potential conflict or having your information get easily spread.

Things to note: Because requests are managed in a specific way on Waymaker, it’s likely that the overall process for providing and finding help may be much slower than on the other sites. However, if your requests are not extremely urgent, then Waymaker’s method helps ensure that your needs are better fulfilled.

If you come across a request that you feel may be inappropriate or suspicious, you can report it for the team to review. This site is available in English.

Use this if: You need help but do not want your information and request to be too publicised, and if you prefer to have tailored responders who can properly fulfil your needs.

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On this list is a mix of extremely active sites like Kita Jaga Malaysia and Sambal SOS, and sites with fewer listings (of white flags or food banks alike) like Ma-Kasih and Waymaker.

Regardless, each site has its own purpose and differs in ways, so you can opt to try one that fits your needs better, whether you’re requesting or offering help.

As Malaysians unite to help out one another, let’s not betray the trust of those offering help by being too greedy and taking more than what you need. By doing so, you are jeopardising the opportunities for others in need to receive help and discouraging kindhearted people from continuing to offer help.

At the same time, if you are someone offering help, please be sure to abide by the government’s SOPs and ensure that you have the proper permissions to run a food bank or similar.

Finally, as the needy and those offering help put out their personal contacts and locations in good faith that they’ll be used as intended, we should avoid misusing the information for ill intentions.

  • You can read more charity-related articles here.

Featured Image Credit: Ma-Kasih / Kita Jaga Malaysia

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