I Belanja You initiative by youth volunteers helps hawkers, riders
Noticing that several senior hawkers in the community did not have access to e-delivery platforms and were on the verge of closing down, a group of volunteers from the Siglap South Youth Network started the I Belanja You initiative.
The campaign, which ran from May 31 to June 13, saw people buying meal coupons to support Bedok South, Joo Chiat, Geylang Serai and Marine Terrace senior hawkers, whose businesses were affected by the phase two (heightened alert) measures.
Taxi and private-hire drivers, as well as food delivery riders, could then redeem meals from participating hawkers.
The initiative gained traction through social media and ground publicity, in which the youth network collected $2,920-worth of meal coupons.
"We initially faced a lot of rejection from the hawkers as they were apprehensive about the initiative, but we managed to get 13 hawkers to be a part of this," said Ms Chen Ngee Ann, 33, chairman of Siglap South Youth Network.
"While only 150 meals were redeemed out of the 400 meals purchased from the hawkers, I believe that the thought counts and the idea of my volunteers coming together with the community and interacting with the beneficiaries is much more valuable," she added.
Hawkers said the campaign not only helped promote their business, but it also allowed them to give back to society.
"Our sales had dropped by 30 per cent but sales picked up after the drivers and delivery riders post about our stall on their social media," said Mr Xiaw Wah Chin, 58, owner of Peking Roasted Chicken Rice stall at Soy Eu Tua Coffee Shop.
With a mission to build a more closely knitted community and care for beyond tangible needs, I Belanja You was also organised to appreciate the efforts of front-line service providers during these challenging times.
"We usually do not have time to have a meal...a drink and a meal may not seem much, but we are thankful," said Mr Jack Ong, 48, a taxi driver.
Mr Shankar Krishnamurthy, 34, one of the volunteers at Siglap South Youth Network, said it is important to support these businesses to maintain the well-balanced ecosystem in place.
He added that the youth do not need to have specific ideas, but joining youth networks and learning is also part of the process of addressing specific needs of the community.