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New community shop filled with donated food items for needy residents opens at Mountbatten

Please don't go to this shop for personal stockpiling.

Zhangxin Zheng | February 9, 06:31 pm

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Many people in Singapore launched into self-preservation mode and went panic buying at several supermarkets over the weekend.

In the midst of such madness, a community shop was timely launched at Mountbatten to serve the need of the less-privileged ones in Singapore.

This is an initiative launched by charity organisation Food from the Heart (FFTH) in partnership with OCBC Bank and was opened by Minister for Social and Family Development, Desmond Lee, on Feb. 8.

Giving the dignity of choice

Community Shop @ Mountbatten is the first community shop piloted in Singapore.

It is filled with essential staples supplied via donation and allows the less-privileged to shop what they need.

That means the needy can choose food items that they require instead of receiving standard packages.

The beneficiaries can choose 12 food items from the racks each month.

What’s more, they can visit the shop on multiple occasions to shop for free according to their needs.

The shop is stocked up with food items such as staples, canned food, bread spreads, biscuits, oil, and condiments.

The variety and amount depend on the food donations that FFTH receives.

The shop opens every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 9:30am to 12:30pm.

They are also opened if an appointment is made in advance for beneficiaries coming in groups.

Benefits 5,000 households in Singapore

This community shop is expected to serve 5,000 households islandwide, including 120 from Mountbatten and another 400 households from Macpherson and Marine Parade areas.

According to FFTH’s CEO, Sim Bee Hia, the organisation feels strongly that the less-privileged in Singapore should be given a “lift up” by having a choice on what and when they need food items.

This is especially so as Singapore sees an improvement in the standard of living over the years.

Sim also envisioned this shop to become an ecosystem that connects donors, sponsors, volunteers, and beneficiaries and to promote more interactions within the neighbourhood.

OCBC to fund S$300,000 and provide manpower support

The OCBC Bank, a long-term partner of FFTH, has committed S$300,000 to fund the shop setup, operations and food supplies over the next five years.

OCBC staff members will also volunteer at the shop when FFTH needs additional manpower and to provide data analytics expertise.

The beneficiaries will “shop” with their ID cards. The card has a QR code to register the beneficiaries’ consumption preferences.

Their shopping patterns can then be tracked for FFTH to understand the shoppers’ food selection better to help the charity serves those in need better such as replenishing the high-demand food.

Providing beneficiaries the option to choose what they need and understanding their food preferences better also help to reduce the mismatch of food donation which reduces food waste as well.

OCBC Bank’s Head of Group Brand and Communications, Koh Ching Ching, also mentioned the possibility of scaling this initiative up, should the pilot shop at Mountbatten succeed.

“We are committed to helping the needy in a strategic manner. This community shop is another good initiative to ensure that food donations match the needs of beneficiaries; and we will consider scaling up across other parts of Singapore, if it is successful.”

Opens 24/7 for food donation

If you are interested to donate excess food items to The Community Shop @ Mountbatten, here are the details:

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

Food drop functioning hours: 24 hours daily

Top photo collage via Food from the Heart’s Facebook

About Zhangxin Zheng

Zhangxin’s favourite pastime is singing Mulan’s soundtrack in the mangrove forests. She hopes to perfect the art of napping in a hammock in the mangroves without being drowned by rising sea levels.

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