5 ways you can share excess food with the needy and reduce food waste in Singapore

Because sharing is caring. Also, food not cheap, don't waste.

By Joshua Lee |Zhangxin Zheng | March 5, 2017

More than 785 million kilograms of food were thrown away in 2015. Just think about that figure for a moment.

That’s about 200kg each person threw into the bin on average – thats the equivalent of a sumo wrestler.

That’s so much food waste going around. Don’t believe us? Just check out these pictures of food being wasted here in Singapore.

food waste
Photo collage from images via Facebook.

These were posted by Facebook user Sumita Thiagarajan under the hashtag #UnhappyPlatesSG – an album showcasing the various plates of food left unfinished that she comes across.

Food wastage here has increased by almost 50 percent over the past decade. This wastage is a shocking slap to the face of the people who really need the food – people like foreign workers and needy folks who do not get enough nutrition regularly.

news food

Thankfully, there are organisations here who help redistribute food – both fresh and uncooked – into the hands of the people who need them:

1. Food Bank Singapore 

Food Bank is part of the Global Foodbanking Network – an international food distribution non-profit that helps tackle hunger. Here, the organisation collects and redistributes donated food items to 130 beneficiaries who will then hand the food to the needy.

It accepts non-perishable, non-expired food items like these ones that they need the most:

Food drive manual
Via Food Bank Singapore.

You can drop off your donation in the bank boxes at City Square Mall, Quayside Isle and NUS Engineering Canteen.

Photo of bank boxes from Food Bank Singapore
Photo of bank boxes from Food Bank Singapore

Food Bank Singapore also has Food Rescue Project – an initiative to redistribute excess raw and cooked food from eight different donors including MBS, Hilton Singapore, and NeNe Chicken to the needy.

2. Food from the Heart

Food from the Heart (FFTH) started out redistributing surplus bread from bakeries to needy folks. Today, they have expanded their operations into six core programmes, including the Community Food Pack Programme (packing rations for needy families) and the School Goodie Bag Programme (packing food for needy students).

Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 16.58.38
Details of Food From The Heart’s bread programme via their website.

3. 11th Hour

Photo collage of 11th Hour App
Photo collage of 11th Hour App

11th Hour’s way of fighting food wastage is to ensure that retail outlets can connect with customers to sell off excess food at reduced prices. In this way, customers can find last minute deals on their favourite foods, a win-win situation for customers and merchants.

4. NUS Buffet Response Team

We are all too familiar with the numerous food receptions that occur across university campuses everyday. More often than not, the excess catered food would be left sitting outside until the caterer comes to clear them.

Images via NUS Buffet Response Team Facebook page.

That may not always be the case if you have this group-NUS Buffet Response Team – an informal group which activates its members to help polish off extra buffet food around campus.

Each time extra food appears on campus, members will receive information on 1) the location, 2) availability of vegetarian options, and 3) how much food is left after the informant seeks permission from the event organisers.

All you need to do is to join their Facebook page or their Telegram group.

5. ItsRainingRaincoats

It’s Raining Raincoats is a Facebook page started to provide raincoats for migrant workers after Dipa Swaminathan witnessed foreign workers being made to work in the rain.

Image via ItsRainingRaincoats Facebook page.

In 2016, Dipa, together with Starbucks, started to distribute unsold food to migrant workers on Saturdays. To date, she and her volunteers collect food from 18 Starbucks outlets to be given away.

If you would like volunteer to collect and distribute food to migrant workers, you can drop a message to ItsRainingRaincoats on Facebook.

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About Joshua Lee

Josh has found the perfect Nasi Padang combination. Ask him about it.

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