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Saving and Redistributing Bread as a Food Distribution Charity | Food from the Heart Singapore

Published: 18 February 2020, Tuesday

Saving and Redistributing Bread as a Food Distribution Charity | Food from the Heart Singapore

Bread Run: Our First Charity Food Distribution Drive

Food from the Heart was established in 2003 – meaning we’ve been serving our beneficiaries and communities in Singapore for almost 20 years! To honour how far we’ve come, we’re looking back on our very first programme: Bread Run.

Food from the Heart founders Henry and Christine Laimer got the idea for Bread Run after reading a report in The Sunday Times about bakeries discarding their unsold bread. Stirred by the realisation that so much edible and safe-to-eat food was simply going to waste, they decided to channel surplus bread from bakeries to those in need.

Thus Food from the Heart was set up, with Bread Run as its first programme – making it the first of many more of our programmes and community-based initiatives as a food distribution charity.

Bread Runners

The legwork of our Bread Run programme is done by our volunteers (better known as Bread Runners) on a daily basis - 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

A Bread Runner first collects bread from Food from the Heart's bakery partners on their designated route and delivers it as soon as possible (typically immediately) to Food from the Heart's registered beneficiary. Beneficiaries are advised to consume the bread within 24 hours for food safety reasons. Our partners include independent bakeries and hotels in Singapore who have registered to regularly contribute safe-for-consumption bread to feed our beneficiaries.

Bread Runners use their own vehicles to complete their routes, paying for their own petrol and parking fees. Food from the Heart started with 120 Bread Runners in 2003. Today, we have about 1,700.

The Emergency Line

Bread Run duties go beyond collection and delivery; it involves all Food from the Heart staff. The Bread Run Emergency Line (or E-Line for short) is held by members of the staff on a rotational basis every day. As issues often have to be solved within a short time frame during out-of-office hours, the person in charge of the E-Line needs to remain vigilant and responsive at all times.

Some common disruptions to our Bread Runs include bakeries not having enough bread to donate because they are sold out for the day and volunteers being unable to make it for their routes. Individually these issues may seem minor, but cumulatively they can severely disrupt food distribution efforts and have a major impact on our beneficiaries' lives. As part of our goal to rethink the food distribution landscape in Singapore, Food from the Heart is constantly striving to improve our Bread Run programme and give better to our beneficiaries.


To remain accountable to our stakeholders, Food from the Heart tracked the quantity of bread we distributed through a platform. As our volunteer portal grew, we upgraded our tracking system to include the Bread Run routes, partner and volunteer details. In 2015, a volunteer rendered help in the form of his IT expertise to come up with our Volunteer Broadcast System, an app that our volunteers use to receive automated notifications of available Bread Run routes.

As the organisation grows in size and scope, and towards giving more meaningfully, Food from the Heart's operations supporting these charitable efforts will also continue to evolve.

If you see value in our work, you can help us by

Thank you for feeding the needy with us!


Updated on 29 June 2022


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