Tag Archives: Food & Hunger

Feast of Giving

By Jayashree Selvalatchmanan

“Ending poverty is first about bringing the issue to light. A lot of people don’t want to see or admit that there is poverty. When we come and look at this group of elderly, we see that there is a need, maybe within a different definition of poverty, but they are deprived. They are deprived of love, they are deprived of care. Living in their one-rooms, it is all these activities (like those at the Feast of Giving) that help. If they are happier, it is less of a burden on their plight if they have a lack of monetary resources. The elderly just want to be loved”– Joy Mahbubani, Managing Director of J’s Restaurant.

16 Feb 2015 (1)Photo credits: Happy People Helping People Foundation, Dob Firdaus

End-of-year celebrations signify different things to different people. For the perpetually busy, it may be a long intended union with family and friends. For those seeking success and purposeful change, it may be a time required to clear out the mind and set fresh goals, more inspiring and ambitious than the ones from the year before. Others may simply relish giving back to society; wanting to touch and change the lives of those around them- with a dash of love.

On the 28th of December 2014, in a first-time collaboration between ONE (SINGAPORE), J’s Restaurant and Happy People Helping People, a festive event titled “Feast of Giving” was organised to honour the elderly and give back a little something to those who have spent years toiling for the future of their families and the society. The 3-hour event, buttressed by passionate volunteers, played host to 180 special guests – the elderly, aged 60 and above, residents of the one-room rental blocks, 22, 23 & 24 located at 22 Chai Chee Road – in an eventful evening of fun and games.

The event was scheduled a stone’s throw away from the rental premises at a delightful multi-purpose hall, nested cosily between old residential blocks. As the clock strikes four, organisers and volunteers promptly take their places around the modest vicinity and duly mingled with guests as they start to arrive. A warm sense of responsibility slowly permeates the air. Volunteers showed the guests to their seats; the actively passionate few hasten around with an urgent sincerity to inject the immediately sociable with doses of cordiality. Instantaneous relations formed–moments before, a stranger, but in a splitting connection, one became another’s father, daughter, or uncle. It seemed that everyone, stranger or not, was bonded under one synchronised notion– to delight the elderly: to make them laugh and sing; to be givers and receivers of love; and to bestow upon them humble gifts.

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Writer and motivational speaker, Zaibun leads the event to an invigorating start. With a quick sprinkle of positivity, she guides her audience up on their feet and demonstrated a series of quirky laughing exercises.

“It’s time to laugh”, she says, pointing to her watch, “Roar with laughter!” The crowd erupts into a massive cheer like there was some kind of rock star on stage; rounds of hollering laughter swiftly ensued. Zaibun’s zesty talk and performance lasts for a little more than thirty minutes before she bid her guests farewell. A final song was played. Many of the elderly were beaming from ear-to-ear; others sat down to rest, tired from all that laughing and prancing around– it was indeed a contagious sight!

The rest of the evening was further lined up with a series of intriguing performances and games. There was a visit and magic performance by Santa, song and dance by kids from Ameba Schoolhouse and a highly interactive session of Bingo. It was announced that the winners of Bingo would be presented with an opportunity to visit River Safari on the 25th of January, accompanied, of course, by volunteers. To that, there were some disgruntled groans from the crowd (because of the travelling required) but most seemed conspicuously thrilled!

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“The event was really enjoyable. I am very happy today,” said Mariyam B, aged 75, both volunteer at the Kembangan-Chai Chee seniors activity centre and resident of Block 24. Other senior guests at the occasion expressed similar emotions – many shared their contentment and delight, others displayed enormous amounts of gratitude and claimed to have had some of their heartiest laughs. Madam Zainab, also in her 70s, said she was absolutely enthralled by the performances and even instructed that future events turn away from typical themes.

“Plan differently next time!” she urged with a cheerful giggle.

Dinner that evening was graciously provided by J’s restaurant. Joy Mahbubani, managing director of the enterprise seemed more like one of our dedicated volunteers – dancing, singing and interacting with the guests. The menu for the event included, saffron rice, roasted chicken, sweet and sour fish, vegetables and bread & butter pudding.

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After all the fun and laughter, the event drew to a close. However, a prime question remains undiscussed. What is the bigger picture?

Feast of Giving is a step towards curbing poverty. The event raises awareness, while sharing love and abundance.

I truly hope that we have set things in motion so this cycle of giving and receiving will be passed on.

Have an astounding new year!

Photos courtesy of Dob Firdaus

Related Articles

  • Feast of Giving – a year-end celebration on 20 December 2014 for the elderly living in the Chai Chee area
  • Photos of the Feast of Giving

Chefs from the World Gourmet Summit Volunteer at Willing Hearts

Three chefs from the annual World Gourmet Summit – Australia’s Ian Curley, Lucas Glanville of the Grand Hyatt Singapore and Dallas Cuddy of Prime Society — have volunteered their time at Willing Hearts to help cook-up over 3500 meals for the underprivileged, following an introduction by ONE (SINGAPORE).

27 March 2014 (SINGAPORE) – Non-profit community organisation Willing Hearts had extra hands today as world-renowned Chef Ian Curley spent the morning in their soup kitchen, helping the team of dedicated volunteers prepare close to 3,500 meals for the underprivileged in Singapore. Chef Curley was joined by Grand Hyatt Singapore’s Executive Chef Lucas Glanville and the Head Chef from premium Australian Steakhouse Prime Society,Dallas Cuddy. All three Chefs are taking part in this year’s 18th World Gourmet Summit. Chef Curley, a champion of similar initiatives in Melbourne, Australia, and a close friend of both Chef Glanville and Chef Cuddy rallied the gentlemen to take part in this charitable cause close to his heart.

 

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[L-R] Chef Lucas Glanville (Grand Hyatt), Chef Ian Curley, Willing Hearts Vice President Charles Liew and Chef Dallas Cuddy (The Prime Society)

 

Speaking after his morning at Willing Hearts, Chef Curley said, “It’s a privilege to be able to volunteer here at this incredible organisation and support this amazing team of volunteers, day-in, day-out. As an advocate for similar initiatives in Australia, I wanted to spend my time wisely when in Singapore for the World Gourmet Summit, not only with the events lined up over the next week but also getting in touch with the community at all levels and helping out wherever I can. It was even more special with Chef Glanville and Chef Cuddy joining me and sparing their time for this incredible cause.”

 

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Chef Ian Curley (Left), The Prime Society Head Chef Dallas Cuddy (Centre) and Grand Hyatt Executive Chef Lucas Glanville

 

Speaking after his morning at Willing Hearts, Chef Curley said, “It’s a privilege to be able to volunteer here at this incredible organisation and support this amazing team of volunteers, day-in, day-out. As an advocate for similar initiatives in Australia, I wanted to spend my time wisely when in Singapore for the World Gourmet Summit, not only with the events lined up over the next week but also getting in touch with the community at all levels and helping out wherever I can. It was even more special with Chef Glanville and Chef Cuddy joining me and sparing their time for this incredible cause.”

Chefs Curly, Glanville and Cuddy were introduced to Willing Hearts by a partner organisation, ONE (SINGAPORE), which works to raise awareness of social issues and eliminate poverty both locally and overseas. “This partnership between the World Gourmet Summit and Willing Hearts is a great example of how companies can apply their core competencies to make a positive contribution to the community,” says ONE (SINGAPORE) President Nichol Ng. “Food issues are close to our heart and we take our hats off to Chefs Curly, Glanville and Cuddy for taking time to volunteer and share their expertise, despite very hectic schedules.”

Charles Liew, Vice President of Willing Hearts, said, “We consider every volunteer a blessing, and were very happy to hear that an international chef such as Chef Curley and his friend, the renowned Executive Chef of the Grand Hyatt, Lucas Glanville, were making time to spend with us here at Willing Hearts to help in our mission to help prepare daily meals to the underprivileged, needy, and marginalised members of our society. Chefs Curley, Glanville and Cuddy have been an incredible help here today, and more importantly, we hope that their time with us this morning will help to spread the word of what we are doing and to inspire others in Singapore and beyond to volunteer their time for those less fortunate, even if it is just a few hours a week.”

27 Mar 2014 (3)WGS International Masterchef Ian Curley (Front) and Grand Hyatt Executive Chef Lucas Glanville (Back) help cook meals at Willing Hearts

 

Mr. Peter Knipp, CEO of Peter Knipp Holdings, parent company of World Gourmet Summit organisers A La Carte Productions, said, “Food and water are perhaps the most critical elements in our existence. As a former Chef, I absolutely loved preparing meals for my diners, be it for their special evening or a simple night out. When I prepare a meal now, I still know it makes a difference and means a lot to those close to me.”

“But it goes beyond my kitchen – the work done by Charles and his team at Willing Hearts is simply incredible. Charity is a big part of what we do, specifically our annual World Gourmet Summit Charity Dinner which has raised over S$5 million over the years. But what Chef Curley, Chef Glanville and Chef Cuddy have done today is simply incredible. We are proud of the three Chefs and their dedication to helping the community,” said Mr. Knipp.

Chef Curley was full of praise for the Willing Hearts volunteers. “I’ve only been able to spend a morning here, but together with Chefs Glanville and Cuddy, we were just blown away by these wonderful folks at this kitchen, led by Charles. It was incredibly heart-warming for all of us to see people giving up their own time for those around them, and I would encourage everyone to find the time to spend even just a few hours here whenever they can,” said Chef Curley.

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For media enquiries please contact:

Ananya Singhania
Fulford Public Relations
E: asinghania@fulfordpr.com
D: +65 6327 2284
M: +65 9847 5306

Alex Jafarzadeh
Fulford Public Relations
E: ajafarzadeh@fulfordpr.com
D: +65 6324 5286
M: +65 9698 2472

  

About Willing Hearts

Willing Hearts is a 100% volunteer-based non-profit organisation, registered as a society, with a vision of improving the lives of the underprivileged and marginalised by providing them with daily meals, and helping them to become useful members of society. Founded in 2005, the organisation operates a soup kitchen, preparing, cooking and distributing 3,500 meals across Singapore everyday.

Would-be volunteers can visit the Willing Hearts website at www.willinghearts.org.sg/volunteer to find out more on how they can help.

About the World Gourmet Summit
The World Gourmet Summit is an international gastronomic extravaganza organised by À La Carte Productions (a division of Peter Knipp Holdings Pte Ltd), supported by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), and presented by Citibank. The World Gourmet Summit will celebrate its 18th anniversary in 2014.

An annual epicurean festival that showcases the intricate craftsmanship of prestigious chefs; it is also an exposition of internationally acclaimed vintners. Encompassing a series of dazzling events like the vintner dinners and celebrity dinners, it is a gourmet spectacular specially crafted for discerning individuals who appreciate fine wines and gourmet cuisine.

Since 2000, the World Gourmet Summit has been raising funds through its annual Charity Dinners in support of the Community Chest, the fund-raising arm of the National Council of Social Service (NCSS). The charity dinners have raised over S$5 million (approximately U$3.9 million) with the generosity of its distinguished guests through table sales, charity auctions as well as donations.

www.worldgourmetsummit.com

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?

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“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.

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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.

Related Articles

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.

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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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Banking for A Better Singapore

By Izyan Nadzirah

In a country that is already saturated with banks, it may seem something of a surprise that two siblings should decide to found yet another. But this is not your typical bank. Rather, with the establishment of The Food Bank Singapore, Nichol and Nicholas Ng have sought to invest in the wellbeing of the less fortunate using food as the main currency of trade.

Excess Food?

The siblings decided to establish The Food Bank Singapore in January 2012 after conducting extensive surveys with food companies and concluding that there are definitely “pockets of…excess food ‘floating’ around in [Singapore’s] food chain.”

The food bank is meant to make it easier for companies in the food industry and members of the public, to donate food at a central location as well as to ease the workload of Volunteer Welfare Organisations and charities that ensure families in need have access to food.

But Nicholas and Nichol had another reason for setting up the food bank as well, one that hits closer to home.

“We have a family business, FoodXervices, dealing with food,” explains Nicholas. “And over time, we realised that, although we mostly deal with non-perishable items, there were still instances where we threw away food.”

“We’re always on the lookout (to see) how we can be socially responsible Singaporeans, (so) it was only natural to begin to introduce corporate social responsibility within our own company.”

At first, FoodXervices collaborated with other companies facing similar issues. Soon afterwards, the Ng siblings opened The Food Bank Singapore.

What’s a food bank?

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The Food Bank Singapore, though the first of its kind in Singapore, is based on a concept that has been around for years

In essence, it is a place where Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies, food retailers, producers and members of the public can donate surplus or leftover foods. The food bank then matches the donations with VWOs and charities that distribute them to needy families.

The first food bank was founded 1967 in the US state of Arizona. A community dining room volunteer named John van Hegel realised that grocery stores were throwing out products which had damaged packaging or were nearing their expiration dates. With the help of St. Mary’s Basilica, he created a central location where grocers could drop off these unwanted perishables.

Over the past forty-five years, food banks have been established throughout America and Europe. In 2006 a Global Food Banking Network was set up, followed by a Food Bank Leadership Institute the following year, to provide a platform to educate, strengthen and expand existing food bank operations.

Banking Hopes and Food Dreams

Since its launch, The Food Bank Singapore has received monthly donations from companies, shops and concerned citizens, though the amount of food donated varies.

Nicholas recalls receiving a phone call from an expat recently who was in the midst of packing up to return to her home country and had come across a few non-perishable items. She wanted to know if they would accept small food donations – about three to four items in total.

“The Food Bank Singapore accepts all kinds of food donations – from a single can of tuna to cartons of dried bee hoon. What is extra to someone can provide for another or a whole family. Every bit counts,” says Nicholas.

When it comes to getting support from FMCGs, however, it can be pretty hard. Some companies are unwilling to contribute, notes Nichol, because they don’t fully understand corporate social responsibility. There are also companies who have a policy against such donations because they want to protect their brand. Nichol and Nicholas are positive though that by increasing public awareness, more and more companies will donate over time.

Word of Mouth

The siblings have depended mainly on word-of-mouth to create awareness of The Food Bank Singapore. Initially they would rely on business partners in the food industry and beneficiaries like The Salvation Army and Willing Hearts to spread the word. Recently, though, they’ve received more attention, including feature articles in The Straits Times and Lianzhe Zhaobao and at the Food Hotel Asia exhibition.

Students have also seeked their advice on how to conduct food donation drives and to find out about other avenues to support the food bank. Both Nicholas and Nichol are glad that there seems to be a strong sense of responsibility among the younger generation, which can help ensure the food bank’s success by publicising the project.

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The ONE Food Drive

On Saturday 17 November 2012, ONE (SINGAPORE) with the support of Class 95FM is organizing a food drive in support of The Food Bank Singapore and the soup kitchen, Willing Hearts.

“The Food Bank Singapore is a fantastic initiative to match food donations with people who need assistance and those working to help them,” explains ONE (SINGAPORE) president Vernetta Lopez, when asked why ONE (SG) chose to work with the food bank. “It’s a new charity – just founded this year – and so we’re really excited to tell more people about them.”

“Nichol and her brother are really inspiring,” adds ONE (SINGAPORE) co-founder Michael Switow. “We’ve worked with them for several years through the Every ONE Can programme, a grocery warehouse sale to support people in need. They’ve transformed their family business and made a solid commitment to the community. In fact, Nichol subsequently accepted an invitation to join ONE (SINGAPORE)’s Executive Committee.”

To learn more about how you can support the ONE Food Drive, go to www.onesingapore.org/onefooddrive.

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This article was edited by Rob Teo. Images courtesy of The Food Bank Singapore

Ramadhan-On-Wheels

By Iman Fahim Hameed

9 Aug 2012 (1)

Volunteers driving beneficiaries to shop for groceries

For many, the holy Islamic fasting month of Ramadan is a time to recognise the hardships faced by those less fortunate than ourselves and to engage in volunteer service to help out.

It is this spirit of sadaqah that has driven the Malay Youth Literary Association- better known as 4PM, an abbreviation of its Malay-language name, Persatuan Persuratan Pemuda Pemudi Melayu – to organise Ramadhan-on-Wheels (ROW) to distribute assistance to low-income families and treat them to a day out.

This year — on Saturday 11 August 2012, during the last week before Hari Raya – more than 1000 volunteers and 270 low-income families will come together at ITE East in Simei and visit a local grocery store to stock up on provisions for this annual celebration.

Since 2001, more than 1700 families have benefited from the programme.

V.I.P. for a day

“It’s not just about giving (the beneficiaries) a voucher, but treating them to a day out,” says 4PM case manager Evina Suban.  “They are like a V.I.P. for a day.”

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Volunteers assist with the shopping

This is the second year that Richard, an 82 year old beneficiary, will receive shopping vouchers from 4PM.  He appreciates the time that volunteers take to drive him to and from the market, particularly since his wife must often stay at home due to ill health.

In addition to food vouchers, ROW provides assistance in other ways as well. Each year is different.  In the past, 4PM has distributed computers and baju kurungs, new clothes for the Hari Raya celebrations.  This year, ROW volunteers have helped clean beneficiary homes and provide them with a fresh coat of paint.

Evolution of ROW

In its early days, 4PM volunteers used to row sampans to Singapore’s outlying islands to assist those in need during Ramadan.

But that was back before Singapore became independent — 4PM was founded in 1948 — at a time when most people here still lived in kampongs.

ROW, which is now in its 12th year, is rooted though in those early ideals.  At first, volunteers delivered groceries to the beneficiaries.  However, over the years the ROW committee realized they could do more.

“We used to give in the form of groceries,” says Evina.  “But we realised different people have varying needs (depending on their age and health status).”  In 2009, ROW replaced the groceries with vouchers.

While 4PM’s roots are in the Malay community, it assists families across Singapore, regardless of ethnicity or religion.  Currently about 30-40% of 4PM’s beneficiaries are non-Malay.

Simple gestures

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Each year, volunteers say they gain as much from the outing as the beneficiaries.

Take the example of Nadya Hasheem, a third year volunteer who was initially a committee member.  During a home make-over, she was touched by the experience of an elderly couple who lost their home due to their children’s spending.  The couple never blamed their children.

“It made me realize the lengths of sacrifice parents will go for their children and how they can still love with no bitterness, and only goodwill,” says Nadya.  “I am honoured to serve them.”

And when she heard that this was the first time someone has offered to help the aunty, Nadya says she learned an even more important lesson: “appreciate even a small simple gesture, for all we had done was clean and paint the house for them.”

Volunteering for ROW “is a humbling experience and working with a diverse team of volunteers is very rewarding,” adds 2012 ROW chairman Syed Faisal, who looks forward to making all the participants feel like a VIP-for-a-day.

Join the Fun

You can still join the celebrations – and break the daily fast with the Muslim participants – at ITE East on Saturday 11 August.  In the morning, volunteers pick up the beneficiaries and bring them to ITE East, the festival venue.  At 2pm, the guest of honour, Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan, will present the beneficiaries with the vouchers.  Around 4pm, volunteers will drive the families to the Giant supermarket in Tampines to go shopping. And then finally there will be an iftar break-fast back at ITE after sunset.  While at ITE East, please visit the ONE (SINGAPORE) booth.

If you would like to join the post-fast meal, please call Noraini at 9653-8921 to RSVP.

At the event, visitors can also make donations to 4PM.

Corporations or groups of individuals who are interested in supporting 4PM’s student assistance and mentoring programmes, please contact ONE (SINGAPORE) to ask about our Corporate Adoption Programme.

This article was edited by Rica Facundo and Michael Switow.

Beans, Eggs & Tinned Fish: Room to Grow Fights Malnutrition, One Bite at a Time

Nearly 180 migrant children – forced to leave their homes in Burma following political violence and climate disasters – are eating more nutritious meals thanks to support from ONE (SINGAPORE) and its partners.  However funding for these programmes expires in April and May, unless new partners step forward.

The children stay or live near one of three schools and boarding houses, which provide shelter and education to children who have been orphaned, abandoned or separated from their families by conflict. Malnutrition is a serious issue in these communities. A recent survey by Room to Grow indicates that more than 40 percent of migrant students in this area are showing signs of stunted growth due to poor diets.

ONE (SINGAPORE) funding is used to purchase and deliver yellow lentils and eggs, which provide protein in a rice and vegetable diet that is otherwise protein deficient. During the last quarter of 2011, an additional contribution by ONE (SINGAPORE) provided money for rice, vegetables, protein, condiments, tinned fish and multivitamins to be served to children at the Shwe The Zin boarding school.

Not everything goes as smoothly as we’d like. Due to problems with a supplier, the delivery of vitamins did not start in November as planned, but in January instead. ONE (SINGAPORE)’s support will still provide a five-month supply of the multi-vitamins.

Room to Grow meanwhile organised nutrition workshops for cooks and teachers from 21 schools, including the three supported by ONE (SINGAPORE). The course equipped them with proper knowledge on preparing healthy meals.

“The children like to eat yellow bean soup more than the other curries. We also cook egg curry twice a week and tinned fish three or four times a week,” says a teacher/cook at STZ. “If we don’t go to the market, we cook tinned fish and veggies that are from our school garden.”

“The children get energy by eating those curries,” adds the school’s garderner who is also the assistant cook. “And it is very nutritious for the children. We also adjust children’s meals with nutrition sources that we learned from the nutrition training. One good news is that we use less MSG in the curries.”

The young migrants staying in these boarding houses clearly appreciate the meals.

“I am a boy who overeats,” says a Grade 3 student at SAW who loves the meals at the centre. “Sometimes, I get in eating competitions with my friends. For breakfast, I usually have rice and egg but we eat beans and rice also every week. For dinner, I like to eat bean and meat curries. I want the donor to watch us when we are eating so they can see how much I eat.”

During the funding period, nearly 245 kilograms of yellow lentils, 1445 eggs and 57 kilograms of rice were delivered and consumed by the children.

Additional Resources

Voices from “Room to Grow”

ONE (SINGAPORE) and its partners support a nutrition programme run by the Room to Grow Foundation in schools and boarding houses near the Thai-Burmese border. Nearly 180 migrant children – forced to leave their homes in Burma following political violence and climate disasters and currently living in areas where malnutrition is common – have been eating better meals, with more protein and vitamins, thanks to this initiative. However funding expires in April and May, unless new partners step forward. Here are some of the ‘Room to Grow’ voices . . .

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Every ONE Can – The Numbers Are In!

10 Nov 2011 (1)
The FoodXervices’ Team at Every ONE Can

Every ONE Can was a whopping success this year! More products, more purchases at wholesale prices and donations for Willing Hearts that filled a truckload! In a nutshell, products purchased have a wholesale value of more than S$17,000. However patrons actually spent about S$13,000, because of the discounts offered on the day of the event. This is actual savings as opposed to retail prices where they would have spent at least S$19- 20K!Willing Hearts

Among the items purchased for donation: cranberry juice, chilli garlic sauce, rice, noodles and much more. We filled up a truck and then some. Charles Liew of Willing Hearts says the donation would probably last two weeks if used all at once, but since the organisation has other ingredients in stock as well, it “will use some items now and others later.”

Willing Hearts prepares and delivers meals to some 2500 people everyday. Unfortunately the number of people needing assistance keeps growing. When ONE (SINGAPORE) first met Willing Hearts at the beginning of the year, it was serving about 1500 people a day.

Several partner organisations — Gift & Take, Hummingfish Foundation (Ai-Funan), Mother and Child Project, TWC2 and Willing Hearts — set up booths at Every ONE Can to raise awareness of their causes and funds for disadvantaged groups. So in addition to grocery shopping, customers also had the chance to look for that”one of a kind” item during the event and show their support for these awesome boutiques. Among the items for sale by the social enterprises, there were organic soaps made by East Timorese women, candles, children’s books, t-shirts, unique eco-friendly gifts and handicrafts.

10 Nov 2011 (2)

We would like to express our heartfelt THANKS to FoodXervices, as well as the partners and patrons who made Every ONE Can a fun and eventful day for all!

Every ONE Can feeds a hungry person. Every ONE Can Stand Up and Make a Difference. Every ONE Can Make Poverty History!

Additional Resources

  • Every ONE Can 2011
  • Check out the photos on our Flickr page and let us know which is your favorite!

Fighting Malnutrition & Encouraging Dreams among Climate Refugees

ONE (SINGAPORE) is teaming up with the Room to Grow Foundation for the second time to provide nutritional support to orphans and other ‘unparented’ migrant children along the Thai-Burmese border.

More than 180 students at the Shwe The Zin school near Mae Sot, Thailand will receive multivitamins three times a week for the duration of the school year, from 1 November 2011 to 31 March 2012. Twenty-five students who are boarding at the facility will also enjoy better meals with beans, eggs, vegetables and other forms of protein.

“Room to Grow does an excellent job fighting malnutrition and working with children from a marginalised community,” says ONE (SINGAPORE) co-founder Michael Switow. “The children and their families have fled violence, conflicts and ‘natural’ disasters in Burma. Their home region is actually a frontline victim of climate change.”

Most of the students at the Shwe The Zin school come from families that fled Burma after Cyclone Nargis ripped through the Irawaddy Delta in 2008, leaving untold numbers of people homeless. They now live in villages in Thailand that do not offer educational opportunities for Burmese children.

Shwe The Zin is one of 60+ informal migrant schools in the Mae Sot community. Approximately 85 per cent of the school’s students live in surrounding plantation zones where their parents work as day laborers; other students live in factories where their parents are employed.

She The Zin has largely functioned without regular support from donors. The headmaster, a monk who was active during Burma’s 2007 Saffron Revolution, raises money to feed children boarding at the school by telling fortunes, doing astrological readings and selling herbal medicines. But these efforts are unfortunately not sufficient to provide the children with well-balanced meals. The Room to Grow Foundation — a charity that provides food and other necessities to children so “they can go to school with a full belly” — has been working with She The Zin since June 2011. R2G works to ensure that children can “go to sleep safely with a mind full of dreams they will one day be able to realize”.

“It has been inspiring to see the headmaster working hard to generate income for his school in order to pay for rent, utilities, school stationary and transport for children living far from school,” says R2G project coordinator Jennifer Jones. “It has also been difficult to see needs remain unmet. That’s why we’re excited to be partnering with ONE(SINGAPORE) to ensure that the children living at the school receive regular meals and good nutrition.”

ONE (SINGAPORE)’s support for this programme was made possible by a donation from The Superseed Trust.

Additional Resources

  • Photos (Facebook | Flickr)
  • An update on ONE (SINGAPORE)’s first donation to Room to Grow
  • About Room to Grow
  • Radio broadcast about Room to Grow

ONE (S) urgent call to Commonwealth leaders to address health related MDGs

Tell the Commonwealth it’s time to take urgent actions to meet the MDGs!
5 Nov 2011

ONE (SINGAPORE) has joined some 400 civil society organisations and anti-poverty campaigners from across the globe in calling on leaders of the Commonwealth to take urgent actions to ensure that the health targets of the Millennium Development Goals are met for all two billion Commonwealth citizens by 2015.

While increased funding and attention to health issues have led to progress — including a significant reduction in child mortality, fewer deaths from malaria and greater access to life-saving drugs for people with HIV — much more work needs to be done in order to meet the MDGs.

Specifically, the Open Letter to the Commonwealth leaders calls on each country to take the following actions:

  1. Meet the minimum W.H.O. (World Health Organisation) standards, including providing at least 2.3 professional health workers for every 1000 people.
  2. Provide universal access to family planning services and ensure that all women are able to give birth with a skilled attendant.
  3. Scale up responses to tuberculosis and HIV
  4. Fully fund the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which is working to eradicate the second disease in human history
  5. Ensure that all citizens have access to safe drinking water and effective hygiene by 2015.
  6. Improve food security and nutrition by increasing support to small scale agricultural producers, particularly women.

The open letter was organised by Make Poverty History Australia and signed by Oxfam, ONE (SINGAPORE) and Save the Children, among other organisations. MPH Australia planned to present it to the Australian government prior to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth at the end of October. Unfortunately, the Australian Prime Minister’s Office and Ministry of Foreign Affairs declined requests for a face-to-face meeting. The Open Letter and an online petition will now be submitted to Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

You can add your voice to the online petition through Friday 11 November.

The Commonwealth includes 54 nations, largely former British colonies in Africa and Asia. Singapore joined the Commonwealth in 1965 and the Singapore Declaration of Commonwealth Principles provided the association with a set of ideals and shared values in 1971.

RESOURCES