SINGAPORE - Supermarket operator Giant distributed rice and cooking oil to residents in one-room public rental flats in Chai Chee on Jan 3, kicking off its efforts to provide these essentials to 3,000 low-income households in Marine Parade in 2024.
DFI Retail Group – which runs Giant – will also support the Government’s Community Development Council (CDC) voucher scheme, which launched its latest tranche on the same day. The scheme gives $500 worth of vouchers to each household for use in supermarkets and heartland businesses.
From Jan 3 to Jan 7, DFI will give shoppers a free 2.5kg bag of rice when they spend $100 in CDC vouchers at Giant. It will also absorb the 1 percentage point goods and services tax (GST) increase on 700 essential products from January to June 2024.
Mr Yoep Man, managing director for food at DFI in Singapore, said Giant is well-placed to contribute to initiatives that help low-income Singaporeans with the rising cost of living, as it is one of the largest providers of food and daily necessities here. DFI will continue to push out such programmes for the community, he added.
Madam Sng Ju Moi, who received rice and cooking oil on Jan 3, cooks three times a week and often in large batches to share with her neighbours. She receives monthly rations of items like Maggi noodles, Milo and canned food from the Kembangan-Chai Chee Constituency Office. “It’s good I don’t have to worry about getting all these,” she said. The 77-year-old, who lives alone, has difficulty walking due to arthritis.
At the Jan 3 distribution, a volunteer also told Madam Sng about the CDC vouchers she can claim at the community centre. She did not know about the scheme.
Another resident, Madam Kwok Chan Siew, was happy to save money on rice, which she cooks daily and eats with canned food or dishes she buys from the nearby coffee shop.
Said the 95-year-old: “I eat simply, and will take what I can get. At this age, I just want to be healthy so that I can take care of myself.”
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong, an MP for Marine Parade GRC, who helped distribute the items to households on Jan 3, said such distributions should not be just about delivering food and groceries, but about “doing it with a smile and being part of the community effort”.
“Part of what we want to try and achieve in Forward SG under the Unite pillar is to bring different aspects of society together, many helping hands coming together, making sure that we look at each other with a shared sense of mutual responsibility towards one another.”
The Forward SG report launched in October 2023 laid out the moves Singapore will make in the years ahead to stay cohesive, including extending help to the less well-off.
Youth leaders from charity Character and Leadership Academy, members of the Singapore tchoukball team, and grassroots volunteers will help with the distribution of the items to households in Marine Parade, MacPherson and Mountbatten.
Mr Delane Lim, president of the Tchoukball Association of Singapore and executive director of Character and Leadership Academy, said: “Both the (organisations) are small organisations, so the impact we make when we do volunteer work is sometimes limited.
“But if we have more opportunities to be part of initiatives like these, our efforts can not only be amplified, we also get to do good with groups of people we may not have otherwise had a chance to work with.”
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