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Food from the Heart partners OCBC Bank to Launch Pilot Community Shop to Return Beneficiaries Dignity of Choice

10 February 2020, Monday

Food from the Heart Official Media Release

Food from the Heart (FFTH) launches its pilot Community Shop (善粮小铺) with support from OCBC Bank to serve its 5,000 benefitting households islandwide including 120 households from Mountbatten SMC and 400 households from Macpherson SMC and Marine Parade GRC. It is one of its milestone initiatives towards giving better and closing the gap between the needy and Singapore’s rising standards of living. The Community Shop aims to return the dignity of choice to the needy to choose food items that they require, instead of standard food packages. Besides offering food options, this initiative helps minimise food waste.  Having a shop in the neighbourhood also encourages families to get out of their homes to have more interaction with others, and for the community to look out for one another. 

The Community Shop @ Mountbatten operates on a shop-for-free concept; beneficiaries are empowered to choose 12 food items from the racks each month; and can visit the Shop on multiple occasions throughout the month. Food items include staples, canned food, bread spreads, biscuits, oil and condiments, all of which will allow beneficiaries to eat better.  Visiting on multiple occasions will lighten the load for the elderly and cut food wastage.  Beneficiaries are encouraged to take only what they need when they need them.  Subject to food donations FFTH receive, bonus items will also be made available on an ad hoc basis.  The Shop will be open every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 9.30am to 12.30pm and by appointment for beneficiaries coming in groups. 

Beneficiaries will ‘shop’ using their beneficiary ID cards with QR codes containing their particulars.  Food items are scanned electronically. The process enables FFTH to gather data on its beneficiaries to better understand their food selection and help in its future efforts in giving better.

“The standard of living has gone up over the years for many of us. We feel strongly that our beneficiaries should also be given a lift up.  They should preferably have the choice on what and when they need food items.  Adopting IT solutions to understand dietary habits will also help us shape the future landscape in food distribution efforts. We hope to create an entire eco-system connecting donors, sponsors, volunteers and beneficiaries.  The Shop has become a reality because of the Government’s Care & Share Matching Grant and the generosity of OCBC Bank,” says Ms Sim Bee Hia, CEO, Food from the Heart.

“When I was first presented with the proposal of a Community Shop by FFTH, I found it to be different and breaks existing norms of giving and donating.  Currently, Mountbatten grassroots organisations give out monthly food items but we are not able to customise packs to meet specific needs.  With the Shop, local grassroots leaders can concentrate on engaging beneficiaries and providing holistic solutions to their myriad of problems while FFTH maximises its strengths of securing food donations, managing volunteers and corporate sponsors.  I am confident that the Shop will help the needy to not only have better meals but would enjoy the process of ‘shopping’.  I am also heartened that Mountbatten residents, hawkers and shopkeepers have responded positively to FFTH’s January food drive for the Shop and have since donated almost daily via the food drop,” commented Mr Lim Biow Chuan who is the Member of Parliament for Mountbatten SMC where the Shop is located.

FFTH’s long-term partner, OCBC Bank, has pledged $300,000 and volunteer support over the next five years towards this community shop initiative. Staff volunteers will help man the shop while those with data analytics background can leverage their expertise to help FFTH identify food collection patterns.

Ms Koh Ching Ching, OCBC Bank’s Head of Group Brand and Communications shared, “Over the years, FFTH’s efforts to uplift food security levels in Singapore has evolved to become more meaningful and relevant.  We are glad to be able to support them in their journey of #GivingBetter to offer the needy more diverse choices.

“We are committed to helping the needy in a strategic manner – in this case, providing meaningful support through FFTH in areas where they need the most help. In 2019, OCBC Bank funded two such FFTH projects – Project Belanja! which enables vulnerable seniors to redeem cooked food from food stalls in their neighbourhood using QR code; and sponsoring monthly packs containing kidney-friendly food items for renal patients undergoing dialysis. This community shop is another good pilot project that we will consider scaling up across other parts of Singapore, if it is successful.”

The Community Shop @ Mountbatten was opened by Mr Desmond Lee, Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development, and Mr Lim Biow Chuan, Deputy Speaker and Member of Parliament for Mountbatten SMC.


Community Shop @ Mountbatten

  • Location: Blk 13 Old Airport Road, #01-57, Singapore 390013

  • Shop operating hours: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, 9.30am – 12.30pm (for beneficiaries only)

  • Food drop functioning hours: 24 hours daily


For media enquiries, contact Jade Tan at jade@foodheart.org or 69588844.

#GivingBetter #FoodfromtheHeart #CommunityShop

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