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Giving back to communities
AS leaders here call for unity amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Singaporeans have been coming together to lend a helping hand to the community.
Four companies in particular are caring for and giving back to communities, in celebration of the national spirit.
WhyQ, The Social Kitchen, SP Group and Standard Chartered Bank are part of Our Heart for Singapore, a collaboration between the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC)'s Company of Good and NDP 2020 Executive Committee. The National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) is the steward of the City of Good vision for Singapore, where individuals, organisations, and leaders are encouraged to come together to give their best for others.
In different ways, the four companies are playing their part towards building a City of Good.
Food delivery start-up WhyQ, which operates an online service dedicated for island-wide hawker food delivery, launched a Gift-a-Meal initiative during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Under the initiative, its users were encouraged to sponsor S$5 meals to healthcare workers, migrant workers and old folks' homes.
Over 16,000 meals have been sponsored to date.
A spokesperson for the company told The Business Times: "The Covid-19 situation has shown us that companies and communities have to support each other in every circumstance.
"During the circuit breaker period, with food options being limited to delivery only, WhyQ had the privilege to help two stakeholders. Front-line heroes like our doctors, nurses and migrant workers had difficulties getting their meals and our hawkers partners saw a huge drop in business, especially the ones in the central business district.
"WhyQ decided to launch GAM to give back to our frontline heroes while giving business to our hawker partners."
The Social Kitchen, the brainchild of two President's Volunteerism & Philanthropy Award winners Alvin Mark Yapp and Ang Kian Peng, is a social enterprise that seeks to make a real difference in helping food and beverage businesses in Singapore survive the Covid-19 economic fallout.
It launched two projects in the month of August: Project SG Makan and Project Makan 2.0. Mr Ang said: "I have always wanted to make a real difference for not only the underprivileged and those with special needs, but also their caregivers. Sometimes we forget the economic impact on families associated with this demographic.
"All the F&B companies operating in The Social Kitchen are committed to hire people from disadvantaged communities such as people with disabilities, single mothers, low-income families, and their caregivers and family members so they can work side by side."
Project SG Makan was started to support local Food and Beverage businesses through the creation of Singapore's First Cloud Kitchen with the flagship kitchen at the Y Cafe YMCA Orchard which began operation on August 1.
Partners who are onboard at launch include: Ming Fa Food Industries Pte Ltd, Osome Foods, Gim's Heritage, KiomKee Pte Ltd, Hiap Giap Food Manufacture Pte Ltd, Long Black Cafe, Foreword Coffee Roasters, Boufe Boutique Café and Pin Si Kitchen.
The beneficiaries earn around S$1,200 per month onwards and with full benefits for full-time employment with training and employment support by social service agencies and The Social Kitchen.
Project Makan is a collaboration between The Social Kitchen and their partners YMCA and SHINE Children and Youth Services to provide meals to thousands of families in Singapore. Project Makan 1.0 began during the Community Circuit Breaker measures and served more than 130,000 meals with a commitment of up to 5800 per day while Project Makan 2.0 launched on National Day and served at least 15,000 meals.
Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin said of The Social Kitchen's efforts: "The economic numbers have just come in for this quarter and we will all be bracing ourselves for challenging times during this period. With The Social Kitchen, they will be able to impact people's lives and food businesses where it matters most with their two projects: Project Makan and Project SG Makan.
I'm excited about these projects and am glad to encourage these efforts to make sure children and families have enough to eat, and help businesses make it through this pandemic."
At Standard Chartered, the need to help the community has been in-built.
Since 2007, the bank has been offering each employee three days of Employee Volunteering (EV) Leave every year. In Singapore, we have contributed ~4,000 volunteering days every year for the last ten years. This year, every employee is given an extra EV Leave day to support the community in times of Covid-19.
A spokesperson for the bank said: "Covid-19 has made an indelible impact on our businesses and communities. We believe that this is precisely a time when we should do more, as the needs of the community have become more varied and extreme."
Globally, Standard Chartered Bank has committed US$50 million to support the various communities. In Singapore, they contributed S$1 million to support students and fellow Singaporeans impacted by pandemic.
The bank's NDP partnership with ACE Seniors is now in its third year and it sponsored, packed and delivered care packs for 6,404 seniors across 23 nursing homes and community hospitals, bringing the joy and celebrative spirit of National Day to the beneficiaries.
Patrick Lee, chief executive officer at Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore), said: "In these times of Covid-19, there are families and individuals who need more support than ever, which is why the bank has given each staff four days of volunteering leave this year. As we celebrate our nation's 55th birthday, it is also a time for us to appreciate our seniors who have collectively built Singapore as we know today."
Evangeline Tang, a senior executive, client services at Standard Chartered Bank, added: "I like doing crafts and have made greeting cards for the seniors and healthcare workers. I hope that those little cards can bring a smile to the seniors and let them know that we still appreciate them. I also wish to take this opportunity to thank our healthcare heroes for their unwavering dedication."
The SP Group has this year partnered with Agency for Integrated Care and SPD to aid seniors who need to repair or replace their motorised wheelchairs and mobility scooters. This project is part of the SP Heartware Fund that was set up in 2005 and it supports services and programmes for vulnerable seniors, under Community Chest.
Simon Loh, chairperson, SP Heart Workers said: "This National Day, SP celebrates the contributions of seniors in powering our nation's progress the past 55 years. From this year, the SP Heartware Fund supports seniors using mobility devices such as motorised wheelchairs and mobility scooters, by funding the repair or replacement of these devices. SP recognises the importance of ensuring they have access to tools and devices to help them remain active, independent and connected with the community. To date, SP has raised more than S$15 million for the Fund to support seniors from less privileged backgrounds.
"Our staff also carry out befriending programmes with them throughout the year, by providing meals, taking them for outings, organising festive celebrations and digital clinics, and sharing tips on energy efficiency and gas safety."
- Our Heart for Singapore aims to encourage people and organisations to express their reflections, gratitude and hopes for Singapore. See the full list of participating companies and their initiatives at www.companyofgood.sg/ndp-collaboration