Free groceries for needy Boon Lay residents at community shop
For Madam Hu Pei Ling, a 77-year-old who lives alone, the opening of Community Shop @ Boon Lay yesterday near her residence is something she has been looking forward to.
Situated at Block 176 Boon Lay Drive within a cluster of rental flats, the food mart is run by charity organisation Food from the Heart (FFTH) and supported by OCBC Bank.
It is the second of its kind after Community Shop @ Mountbatten opened in February last year.
The shop-for-free concept operates on a digital redemption system, where needy individuals and families served by Boon Lay Citizens' Consultative Committee and NTUC Health can choose 12 food items from the shop each month and visit the shop on multiple occasions throughout the month.
It is open every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 9.30am to 12.30pm.
Community Shop @ Boon Lay will start serving 350 households after its opening and is projected to reach 1,000 by year-end.
Madam Hu previously received monthly food packs from FFTH under NTUC Health for two years, but found it troublesome to give away items she does not eat, such as biscuits, to her neighbours.
On preferring the community shop concept that provides targeted help and helps reduce food waste, she told The New Paper: "I can take only what I need and not worry about wasting anything."
At the opening ceremony, Ms Sim Bee Hia, FFTH's chief executive, said Community Shop @ Boon Lay was set up as the Mountbatten outlet had proven successful and popular among its over 170 beneficiaries surveyed.
She said: "Dignity and freedom of choice resonate with them, with 98 per cent of the respondents selecting Community Shop as their preferred type of food support programme (over food packs or meal coupons)."
OCBC has donated a total of $500,000 to the two shops. Its head of group brand and communications Koh Ching Ching said: "Staff volunteers from our data analytics team can help (FFTH) to analyse data collected from both shops to understand food consumption habits to facilitate the call for food donations."