Singapore – While many Singaporeans went into panic-buying mode over the weekend after the Ministry of Health (MOH) declared DORSCON Orange, a community shop at Mountbatten opened its doors to provide food for the underprivileged.
On February 8, Saturday, charity organisation Food from the Heart (FFTH) officially opened its first Community Shop located at Mountbatten. The shop supplies food items given by donors.
The initiative, which is sponsored by OCBC Bank, was launched by Minister for Social and Family Development, Desmond Lee. In a Facebook post, the minister shared his experience during the event.
Delighted to launch Food from the Heart’s Community Shop @ Mountbatten with Lim Biow Chuan this morning. In its 17 years…
FFTH has been distributing food to lower-income households for 17 years and saw a better opportunity to make logistics more efficient by bringing the beneficiaries to one hub where they could choose the items they needed.
Long-term partner of FFTH, OCBC Bank has pledged S$300,000 to the community shop, from its establishment and operations to food supplies over the next five years. Volunteers from OCBC will also assist at the shop for additional workforce and provide data analytics such as beneficiary consumption preferences.
By studying the shopping patterns of beneficiaries, FFTH will be able to make well-informed decisions on replenishment, thus minimising donation mismatches and food waste.
This way, “beneficiaries didn’t have an over/undersupply of some items,” noted Mr Lee.
Instead of receiving standard packages, beneficiaries can now pick 12 food items from the community shop each month. They can also repeatedly visit the shop and pick out items from aisles filled with oil, tinned goods, staples, biscuits, bread spreads, and condiments.
FFTH CEO, Sim Bee Hia, said that the organisation believes in “lifting up” the less-privileged in Singapore by giving them a choice on what they need and when to get it. The organisation also sees the initiative as a way to promote more interaction among donors, sponsors, volunteers and beneficiaries.
Koh Ching Ching, OCBC Bank’s Head of Group Brand and Communications added that there is a high possibility of expanding the initiative should the first community shop succeed. “We are committed to helping the needy in a strategic manner. This community shop is another good initiative to ensure that food donations match the needs of beneficiaries; and we will consider scaling up across other parts of Singapore, if it is successful.”
In the meantime, the community shop expects to cater to 5,000 households within Singapore, including the 120 residing in Mountbatten and 400 from Macpherson and Marine Parade areas.
“You can also do your part by checking out Food from the Heart’s social media pages to find out what food items you can donate and make a difference in someone’s life,” added Minister Lee.
For those who wish to donate, the community shop is located at Blk 13 Old Airport Road, #01-57, Singapore 390013 and accepts donations 24/7.
The community shop is open for beneficiaries every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. They also accept requests to open shop for beneficiaries coming in groups provided a prior appointment is made.
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