45,000 people to get free hot meals from void deck vending machines
Up to 45,000 people from low-income families can soon get a free hot meal at any time from a vending machine at a void deck in their neighbourhood under a new community initiative.
The Food Bank has partnered Philips Foundation to distribute 45,000 "bank cards" that these people can use at the machines, Philips said in a statement yesterday. Philips Foundation is the charitable arm of the multinational tech conglomerate.
Each card will have 50 monthly credits that cannot be rolled over if unused. Each meal costs three credits and each dry food item, two credits.
Apart from funding the cards, Philips Foundation has also sponsored the installation of two dry food-dispensing machines and one hot bento meal-dispensing vending machine at Block 131 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh, which have been in use since Oct 27.
These vending machines are under an educational initiative by Philips and The Food Bank called "Powering better living through access to nutrition", which aims to bring nutritious meals and increase outreach on nutrition education to low-income households.
Mr Eric Chua, Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development, said food support organisations play a vital role in helping low-income and vulnerable families stretch their dollar.
"I am pleased to hear about this innovative initiative by Food Bank Singapore and Philips Foundation to both provide healthier meals, and empower beneficiaries to prepare nutritious meals and build healthy eating habits," he said.
Food Bank co-founder and chief food officer Nichol Ng said with the recent rise in "food insecure" households in Singapore, there is a pressing need to provide contactless, safe and nutritious hot food options for many who do not have ready access to them.
"When developing these meals with the Singapore Heart Foundation, we took into consideration factors that would support sustainable habits for long-term health, like nutritional content, accessibility of ingredients, the population's taste preferences and convenience of consumption," she added.