Impressions from the ONE Food Drive

By Melissa Chong

Cars stream in during an 8-hour food drive, greeted by ONE (SINGAPORE) volunteers and Class 95FM DJs Vernetta Lopez, Jean Danker, Glenn Ong and Marilyn Lee. The DJs are visibly touched by the overwhelming generosity of donors opening their hearts as well as their wallets.

The event – The ONE Food Drive – is organised by ONE (SINGAPORE) with the support of Class 95FM to collect food for the hungry.

Wait – hunger in Singapore?

23 Jan 2013 (1)

“It’s amazing, I didn’t realise our car boot could fit so much stuff!” chuckle a group of ladies while unloading thirteen sacks of rice into the warehouse. They vouch that they are loyal Class 95FM listeners who heard the radio announcement and emptied the shelves of a NTUC supermarket to help out.

Joseph Sim, a father of two young children, also hit the stores the same day after hearing the radio announcement. He arrives with bags of assorted groceries worth $480.

“I wanted to teach my children from a young age that we should donate when we can”, he tells us.

Jointly organized by ONE (SINGAPORE) and Class 95FM, a publicity campaign including social media has been launched to encourage the donation of non-perishable food items to the those in need.

“We traded a few ideas and decided – let’s start with something really basic which people can grasp, something which everyone can get involved in. So we said ok, let’s tackle hunger”, explains Michael Switow, co-founder of ONE (SINGAPORE).

And yes, hunger does exist in prosperous Singapore. While there are no official statistics, a commmunity survey by Food for All in 2009 noted that some 12,000 Singaporean households rely on supplementary food rations provided by Family Service Centres, Residential Committees (RCs) and charities.

Food items collected in the drive are being given to two beneficiary group: The Food Bank Singapore and Willing Hearts.

“ONE (SINGAPORE) would like to bring attention to groups which don’t receive as much attention”, Michael adds.

Bulk items collected in the food drive are donated to Willing Hearts – a local soup kitchen that cooks 3,000 meals for various distributions points across the island, every day of the year. To run operations at such a massive scale, they depend heavily on the goodwill of donors and say the food collected through this drive will go a long way.

“It’s about one-months supply of food. From here, the food will go to our kitchen. We’ll serve meals to old folks, the sick, single parents and jobless. Many live in one-room, two-room flats. It’s a wide range of people”, says Charles Liew, Treasurer of Willing Hearts.

Assorted bags of food collected in the drive are donated to The Food Bank Singapore, which partners with a broad range of charities and volunteer welfare groups to distribute food to families and individuals in need. Although operations started in April 2012, this organisation is already a media sensation, receiving recognition in the 2012 National Day speech.

23 Jan 2013 (3)

According to The Food Bank Singapore, corporate donors often want to donate food in bulk but beneficiaries rarely have sufficient storage space.

“Because of our linkage with FoodXervices, we can settle the logistics of sending the food to beneficiaries. For example, recently a company donated 250 cartons of French fries. Where is the charity going to store it? That’s when we come into the picture,” explains Michael Teo, a co-ordinator at The Food Bank Singapore.

A convoy of 25 to 30 cars arrives from Schneider Electric, a multinational electric engineering company, pledging more than $10,000 worth of food. Not long after, a truckload arrives from Nestle with cartons of Nestle products including Milo, Nestum cereal and Maggi noodles.

The food collected is helping thousands of individuals from the unemployed to the elderly and making a clear stance that no one in Singapore should go hungry.

This article was edited by Emma Gatehouse. Photos by Joy Wong.

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And yes, hunger does exist in prosperous Singapore. While there are no official statistics, a commmunity survey by Food for All in 2009 noted that some 12,000 Singaporean households rely on supplementary food rations provided by Family Service Centres, Residential Committees (RCs) and charities.

Food items collected in the drive are being given to two beneficiary group: The Food Bank Singapore and Willing Hearts.

“ONE (SINGAPORE) would like to bring attention to groups which don’t receive as much attention”, Michael adds.

Bulk items collected in the food drive are donated to Willing Hearts – a local soup kitchen that cooks 3,000 meals for various distributions points across the island, every day of the year. To run operations at such a massive scale, they depend heavily on the goodwill of donors and say the food collected through this drive will go a long way.

“It’s about one-months supply of food. From here, the food will go to our kitchen. We’ll serve meals to old folks, the sick, single parents and jobless. Many live in one-room, two-room flats. It’s a wide range of people”, says Charles Liew, Treasurer of Willing Hearts.

Assorted bags of food collected in the drive are donated to The Food Bank Singapore, which partners with a broad range of charities and volunteer welfare groups to distribute food to families and individuals in need. Although operations started in April 2012, this organisation is already a media sensation, receiving recognition in the 2012 National Day speech.

23 Jan 2013 (3)

According to The Food Bank Singapore, corporate donors often want to donate food in bulk but beneficiaries rarely have sufficient storage space.

“Because of our linkage with FoodXervices, we can settle the logistics of sending the food to beneficiaries. For example, recently a company donated 250 cartons of French fries. Where is the charity going to store it? That’s when we come into the picture,” explains Michael Teo, a co-ordinator at The Food Bank Singapore.

A convoy of 25 to 30 cars arrives from Schneider Electric, a multinational electric engineering company, pledging more than $10,000 worth of food. Not long after, a truckload arrives from Nestle with cartons of Nestle products including Milo, Nestum cereal and Maggi noodles.

The food collected is helping thousands of individuals from the unemployed to the elderly and making a clear stance that no one in Singapore should go hungry.

This article was edited by Emma Gatehouse. Photos by Joy Wong.

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