Hawzah News Agency (Jakarta, Indonesia) – The members of the Jami Raudlatul Jannah congregation in Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta, had just finished their Isya prayers on Wednesday evening when some of them flocked to a corner of the mosque.
They queued in front of a so-called ATM Beras, a machine that dispenses rice.
Barnas Sumantri, the head of the Jami Raudlatul Jannah Mosque’s Welfare Council, said the rice ATM, which provides charity to the less fortunate living around the mosque, operates every Wednesday and Sunday.
"By giving rice [as charity], we can feed a whole family. If we give money, Rp 100,000 [US$7] for example, it might only be enough for one or two persons," Barnas said, as kompas.com reports.
Since officially starting operations on Jan. 13, at least 33 urban poor had received four free liters of rice twice a week from the machine.
Barnas said they choose Wednesday and Sunday because these are the days the mosque conducts religious studies.
"They can get multiple benefit. The pahala [reward], the knowledge and the rice," he added.
The mosque had given special ATM cards to each of the beneficiaries. In order to get the rice, the cardholders only have to tap their cards on the machine and the rice flows into a container.
Among the beneficiaries was Ali. He said he was able to reduce his daily expenses.
"I'm a security officer. My monthly salary is only Rp 1 million. I used to use most of it for rice," Ali said.
Another rice ATM cardholder, Untung, said that getting a rice donation from the machine was very humane. He did not have to jostle with hundreds of people to receive it.
"I hope the program lasts long. I like that I don't have to stand in a long queue and jostle for the rice," he said.
Another rice ATM has also been operating in the Bintaro Grand Mosque in South Tangerang, Banten. (vla)