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Food packs that serve their purpose, reach right people

Published: 18 September 2019, Wednesday

Food packs that serve their purpose, reach right people

As a charity whose mission is to alleviate hunger and minimise food waste, it was unfortunate to read The Sunday Times report about donated food to a 78-year-old dementia patient going to waste (Donated food gone to waste sparks debate on efforts of volunteers, Sept 8).

Food from the Heart works with our community partners, including grassroots organisations, family service centres, senior activity centres, charities and schools, to identify and assist those in need of our food packs.

The professional teams and regular volunteers interact with our beneficiaries frequently and many have an in-depth understanding of the families. This is achievable only over time and through sustained efforts, not a one-time visit.

We recently completed our second-quarter poll and held a focus group discussion among our 60 community partners serving an estimated 4,000 families. Almost all of our community partners polled shared that our beneficiaries find our community food packs useful.

About 71 per cent can make the items last two to three weeks; and 47 per cent of those polled also requested a bigger food pack with more items so that the supplies could last them longer.

It is through such regular conversations that we ensure food items, generously donated by donors and supporters, reach someone's table.

Food items kept past their expiry dates indicates a likely issue of hoarding.

Hoarding is a disorder that may be present on its own or as a symptom of another disorder.

In our experience of 16 years, hoarding is not representative of the needy at large. It should not deter well-intended volunteers or donors from donating food items to the thousands of families who need them.

Cases, like the one quoted in the article, should be referred to the relevant agencies for intervention and help.

It is important to be mindful of what the real needs of beneficiaries are. It is equally crucial to respect the beneficiaries and their dignity of choice.

It takes many parties to provide a sustainable, coordinated and holistic approach to provide timely intervention and help.

Ad-hoc and/or new volunteers should work with an established food charity like Food from the Heart or local social service agencies to ensure that beneficiaries' needs are met.

Let us work together to donate right, give better, one food pack at a time.


Ronald P. Stride


Food from the Heart


#FoodfromtheHeart #GivingBetter
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