Fridges stocked with free food warm Yishun South residents’ hearts
Initiative in Yishun South provides locally grown produce and helps develop 'kampung spirit'
Before Ms Choo Kim Chock, 70, returned to her small rental flat in Yishun, which she shares with her children, she stopped at Block 508B, Yishun Avenue 4.
The cleaner, who lives two minutes away in Block 510B, was there to get free groceries from the block's community fridges, and she grabbed some spinach.
She told The New Paper in Mandarin: "I can get ingredients here when I cook, such as hae bee hiam (dried shrimp chilli paste), for my children."
The two fridges, one for halal food, were set up last Sunday to aid residents who live in rental flats in Yishun South.
The fridges are filled with fresh produce, including eggs, spring onions and apples.
Some were harvested from the nearby community gardens, which are also free for the residents to use, while the rest were donated by other residents.
Residents are allowed to store fresh produce in the fridges or take from them whenever they want to.
The fridges sit at the block's void deck, right outside Nee Soon South Zone H's Residents' Committee office.
They are unattended, save for a surveillance camera.
Nee Soon GRC MP Lee Bee Wah told TNP this initiative will continue for three months, adding: "We chose not to lock the fridges up for the time being because most people are sensible, and I like to think we can trust them to act in good faith."
She added that after reading about the abuse of Tampines' community fridges, which were launched last year, a group of volunteers was formed to manage and watch over the Yishun fridges.
Dr Lee said: "This initiative is a fantastic opportunity for many residents to do good and give back to society."
One of the volunteers, who wanted be known only as Ms Yana, 50, lives in a two-room rental flat with her family in Block 508B.
When the initiative was launched, she volunteered to watch over the fridges, tidying them up and throwing out food that had gone bad.
She also brings food to those unable to get it themselves.
Said the housewife: "When I lived in Geylang West, I would help out with these kinds of events. Since I live in Yishun now, I want to do the same to help others."
Another resident, who wanted to be known only as Ms Adeline, 38, believes this is the least they can do.
"I will not use it since it is for the less fortunate, but I will definitely bring down food or leftover food," said the homemaker, who lives in Block 508A.
She believes that this initiative not only benefits the less fortunate but helps the community develop a "kampung spirit" too.
Ms Choo said residents are encouraged to meet at 9am on Fridays to help pack vegetables for the fridge, using newspapers and rubber bands.
Ms Adeline added: "In the past, we did not even lock our doors. Everyone helped everyone. Now, everyone stays at home. This initiative engages the whole community."