You've been running Back2Basics for more than three years now with the help of friends and volunteers. How did the idea come about?
Starting Back2Basics partly had to do with my own family's circumstances where there were nights when we had to go hungry. My parents got divorced and my mother, sisters and I were rendered homeless for five years. Once our situation improved, I reflected on it and knew I had to help or contribute in some way to provide food to other needy families. Years later, I watched a video online where an Imam was addressing a crowd and telling them that it was the responsibility of the community to protect the helpless and weak amongst them. My best friend, Dinah fully committed to the idea as well, so we started a call on Facebook for other people to join us. Only one other person came forward and eventually, the three of us kicked it off.
What are some setbacks or challenges you've faced along the way?
Location was one of our first few challenges as we did not have a warehouse (and still don’t) to store the groceries, so for the past three years, we have changed our locations quite a fair bit to suit our logistics. It’s still a challenge but we are trying to work around it.
Getting volunteers has always been tough work. Thankfully, in the first year, we managed to establish a core group of volunteers of about eight people. Although they are full time employees in their own fields and students, they are always around for every drive to ensure it goes smoothly. Without them, we wouldn’t have come this far. And of course, despite not going public for donations, we managed to sustain our efforts thanks to a tiny pool of supporters who believe in the work we do.
Right now, we are planning to see how we can scale up Back2Basics. Poverty is not the only issue facing these families. There are usually social and domestic issues involved too, which we are not qualified to deal with. Ultimately, the idea is to grant these needy families holistic assistance so they don't get caught in a vicious cycle.