Food donations help those struggling with food insecurity and financial hardship

SINGAPORE – To reduce her grocery expenses, Lynna collects unsold bread and vegetables in shopping malls and cooked meals not served in hotels, up to three times a week.

The 51-year-old, who is in the process of divorce and has two teenage sons with special needs, is taking courses to return to the workforce.

The family recently moved into a two-room Rental Board apartment, and Ms Lynna, who refused to reveal her full name, is receiving financial assistance from a social services office to cover most of her bills and of his rent.

“Sometimes what I save is enough for one or two meals a day for my family. Half of my grocery bill has been cut,” said Ms Lynna, who is a food aid worker with Divert for 2nd Life ( D2L). .

People in similar situations like Ms Lynna, including elderly people living alone, migrant workers and residents of social shelters, will benefit from a law on donating food to Good Samaritans, which, if passed, could get more businesses and hotels to donate surplus food instead. to throw them away.

A key principle of the proposed bill is to protect businesses and other donors from liability – for example, food poisoning – as long as the food donated complies with strict safety and hygiene measures.

A study last year by the Singapore Management University Link Center for Social Innovation found that about 10 percent of Singaporeans struggle to get enough, safe and nutritious food at least once every 12 months.

Among the 10 percent, two in five households found it difficult to obtain such foods at least once a month.

Another D2L rescuer, Ms Cassie, heard of a family of seven who lived on instant noodles. A friend told him that the family had collected many boxes of instant noodles from another rescue group.

Ms Cassie, who is in her 50s, found the family had run into financial trouble when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. There are five children in the family, who are in their pre-teens and teens. Since the beginning of the month, Ms Cassie – who has refused to reveal her last name – has rescued unsold food for them.

She recently gave them containers of potato gratin, salmon, buttered carrots and roast chicken – unserved portions from a hotel Christmas buffet – that have thrilled the family.

“The mother was very grateful and sent me many messages. Her children have not eaten such food for a long time. It must have been a real treat for them,” she added.

Each week, two Clementi bakeries donate their unsold bread – like rainbow breads and buns topped with cheese and garlic – to the Thong Kheng Elderly Activity Center in Block 3 Jalan Bukit Merah. .

On December 8, the center distributed bread to elderly people confined to their homes in the rental block, including retirees Thanaletchmi, 78, and Papa Jevan Singh, 86.

Madam Papa said, “I’m going to toast the bread and eat it in the evening and tomorrow morning.” The center takes care of me.

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