Food insufficiency, also known as food scarcity and food insecurity, describes a lack of adequate food and nutrition to meet dietary needs.

It’s a global crisis affecting millions, with adverse impacts on health, productivity, and human potential.

According to a paper published in 2021, the prevalence of household food insecurity in Malaysia was “unexpectedly high”. Chief affected demographics are the Orang Asli, low-income household or welfare-recipient households, university students, and the elderly.


To raise awareness about food insufficiency in underprivileged communities, 16 students from the Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FAS) brought the Love Canteen campaign in Ipoh and Kampar.

These are final-year Bachelor of Communication (Honours) Public Relations students that have previously successfully conducted two food distribution activities under the Love Canteen campaign.


In late February, the team effectively distributed 1,000 food packs throughout the city of Ipoh to individuals in need, including the elderly and those facing financial hardships. This was made possible with close collaboration with Pertubuhan Amal Ai Xin Fan Tong.

The volunteers were divided into two teams that, between them, diligently worked to prepare a large quantity of ingredients while ensuring that the nutritional values in these food packs were able to help meet the recipient’s recommended nutritional intake.

According to student volunteer Tay Yong Qi, “This programme taught me that some people can’t access food easily. It made me realize how important it is to appreciate the food we have.”

Kuan Chu Yie, the treasurer of the Love Canteen campaign, added: “It was heart-wrenching to see elderly people living alone, especially in homes falling apart.”

Pertubuhan Amal Ai Xin Fan Tong Coordinator Assistant Adele Siew Li Me praised the effort. “The onset of a substantial number of individuals facing financial distress due to the Movement Control Order (MCO) has prompted us to extend our support during this challenging period,” she says.

She elaborates further: “Consequently, Pertubuhan Amal Ai Xin Fan Tong initiated a comprehensive aid programme, which encompasses not only distributing freshly prepared meals but also delivering essential goods and vegetables to low-income communities. This effort aims to alleviate their financial strain and uphold the mission of ensuring ‘A full stomach for all’.”


During early March, the Love Canteen campaign headed over to Kampar, where approximately 100 elderly individuals were able to enjoy meals provided by Pertubuhan Amal Ai Xin Fan Tong.

Following this, the group devoted the remaining half of the day to distributing food to various other charity organizations, including Beautiful Gate for the Disabled Foundation, I Care Center, Pusat Jagaan Kasih Sayang Kampar and Rumah Orang Tua Gopeng.


Leong Kah Ding, Secretary II of the Love Canteen campaign, expressed his belief that the Love Canteen volunteering programme and the upcoming on-campus exhibition would help raise awareness among university students and the public regarding the importance of achieving food sufficiency.

To achieve this aim, the Love Canteen project also hosted an exhibition on 26 and 27 March 2024 to showcase their journey and knowledge, with the aim of educating the public on achieving food sufficiency. The exhibition was held in the foyer of Dewan Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik, Kampar.

To find out more about Love Canteen, please visit www.linktr.ee/lovecanteenutar (link opens in a new tab).

Reference: Sulaiman, N., Yeatman, H., Russell, J., & Law, L. S. (2021). A food insecurity systematic review: Experience from Malaysia. Nutrients, 13(3), 945. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13030945


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