PETALING JAYA: The Covid-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on children’s homes. While well-wishers continue to donate food, there is little money left for workers’ salaries, the rent or utility bills.

In fact, many employees of children’s homes and orphanages have been working without pay for several months.

A prime concern is that even the food supply will eventually run out if the Covid-19 crisis continues unabated.

Mary Moses, the administrator of Rumah Kanak-Kanak Trinity here, said funds have been running low.

“We are grateful that people continue to donate food but we also need money to pay the staff their salaries and other necessities,” she told theSun yesterday.

Mary said she has not received her salary for a few months.

“If we dip into our reserves, there will not be enough money left to support the children. We don’t have enough funds to last a year.”

She said it costs RM18,000 to RM20,000 a month to run the home that houses 20 children, aged five to 14.

“Just to see to the children’s needs alone, we need about RM10,000 a month,” she said.

“Our four employees understand our predicament. We are not getting as much money as we used to, but I understand this is because of the economic slowdown.

“We will continue to be prudent in our spending.”

Mary said the children are chipping in by making colourful ornaments in the shape of angels and snowflakes that they hope to sell during the Christmas season.

The home was set up 21 years ago with the objective to ensure that children under its care be given an education.

At the Praise Emmanuel Children’s Home in Section 6 here, Christopher Michael is doing his best to stretch the ringgit.

Michael, who is manager of the home, said the monthly expenses to house and feed the six children, aged nine to 16, comes up to about RM14,000. He has three workers to help him.

“So far, we have managed to continue paying the staff their salaries as well as rent and utilities on time,” he said.

However, he has had to dip into the reserves since March to make ends meet as they are not receiving as much money from donors as they used to.

“Of course, we understand that money is short and we are grateful that donations are still trickling in, albeit slowly,” he said.

Michael said the amount that the home receives now is insufficient to cover the costs but is hopeful that conditions will improve.

For Jacinta Steven, the founder of the Lighthouse Children Welfare Home Association, money is just one of several problems she has to deal with.

For a start, she has to pass through roadblocks on the way to buy food and other necessities.

“We have to produce all the documents to prove who we are and that causes delays,” she said.

But just like the others, her bigger problem is money. She had been able to pay salaries, the rent and utility bills earlier but she is already short of funds.

The orphanage has rented four houses in Bangsar to house the 65 children under its care. According to Steven, it costs about RM60,000 a month just to keep operations going.

“Fortunately, our employees are very passionate about what they do here. They even work on their days off,” she added.

Covid crisis takes toll as operators face financial woes, amid fears food will run out