Singapore

New foundation to give 20,000 free meals to needy amid pandemic

Billionaire founder: 'We want to make sure there is food in every household. That no one goes hungry'

Food company Tiffin Labs, co-founded by one of Singapore's youngest billionaires, 36-year old Kishin R.K., has set up a charitable foundation to give free meals to the needy during the Covid-19 crisis.

The Tiffin Labs Food is Love Foundation partnered with charity Free Food for All to distribute, as a start, 20,000 restaurant-quality meals - such as chicken rice and pasta prepared by Tiffin Labs chefs - to those in need. These include poor families and those who lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

The food distribution will begin today.

The foundation, among other plans, will give away another 10,000 meals to healthcare workers.

Tiffin Labs prepares and delivers cooked meals to its customers.

Mr Kishin said yesterday: "We want to make sure there is food in every household. That no one goes hungry."

He is the son of property magnate Raj Kumar, who runs Royal Holdings.

Mr Kishin sold off an apartment his parents gave him to start RB Capital when he was 23. Today, the real estate acquisition and development company owns The InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay and Park Hotel Farrer Park, among other properties. It has an asset base of more than $5 billion.

Forbes estimates the father-son duo to have a net worth of US$2.6 billion as of yesterday. They were ranked 12th among Singapore's 50 richest last year.

SPEED UP

Mr Kishin said he and the three other co-founders of Tiffin Labs had planned to start the foundation before the outbreak. The scale of the crisis prompted them to speed up their plans.

Mr Kishin declined to say how much money he donated to start the foundation, adding: "It is both me and Tiffin Labs coming together to give money to start the foundation."

Mr Nizar Mohamed Shariff, 49, founder of Free Food for All, said yesterday that he is grateful for the partnership with Tiffin Labs, given the sharp increase in calls for help.

Towards the end of last month, the charity had about 700 new applicants asking for food in three days. Pre Covid-19, it usually saw 100 to 120 new applicants a month.

Many said they have lost their jobs or seen their incomes plunge due to the stricter circuit breaker measures to stem the outbreak, Mr Nizar said.

Mr Nizar, a father of four married to a nurse manager, said: "Previously, by the time I was going to sleep, I felt so drained as the need was so great with the Covid-19 crisis, but we didn't have many resources."

Mr Nizar, who used to run a shipping business and does not take a salary from the charity, said he has pumped in a six-figure sum of his own money to keep it going.

He said of their partnership with Tiffin Labs: "Now I feel we have more support, like there are more people who want to fight the good fight with us."

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