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TAKING HEART

Helping migrant workers amid the pandemic

Citi Singapore, UBS and The Food Bank raise funds, offer support

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The Food Pantry 2.0 vending machines are stocked with food items such as instant meals and hot beverages, as well as daily necessities such as soap, toothpaste and washing powder.

Singapore

CITI Singapore employees raised over S$176,000 through a company-wide fund-raiser, Citi Supports HOME campaign.

The month-long campaign to support the Humanitarian Organization for Migrant Economics (HOME) aimed to assist migrant workers in areas such as immediate basic needs, medical and counselling assistance to shelter residents.

Twelve teams, representing different departments and businesses across Citi Singapore, set up their respective giving.sg campaign pages to rally for donations towards HOME.

Asean head and Citi country officer for Singapore, Amol Gupte, said: "The migrant workers are amongst Singapore's worst hit communities by the pandemic. We want to continue demonstrating Citi's values through our philanthropic efforts alongside our employee giving, so that we can make a positive difference to those in need".

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Similarly, to help this same group of people, UBS and UBS Optimus Foundation donated S$650,000 to expedite the roll out of The Food Pantry 2.0 in dormitories and low-income neighbourhoods across Singapore.

The Food Pantry 2.0 was launched in October last year in conjunction with World Food Day and, on Wednesday, The Food Bank Singapore (FBSG) announced the establishment of The Food Pantry 2.0 in a dormitory for migrant workers in Punggol.

Housing about 60 migrant workers, the dormitory has three vending machines stocked with food items such as instant meals and hot beverages, as well as daily necessities such as soap, toothpaste and washing powder.

Importance of having access to aid 24x7

"Since the launch of our first The Food Pantry 2.0, we have been looking to scale up the programme. The Covid-19 pandemic has glaringly highlighted the importance of having access to aid 24x7. Through the Community Foundation of Singapore, we were connected to UBS. Upon discussions, we felt that the machines would help improve the well-being and lives of migrant workers staying in dormitories," said Nichol Ng, co-founder of FBSG.

August Hatecke, country head, UBS Singapore, said: "Covid-19 outbreak has caused great inconveniences to various groups of people in the society; one such group includes migrant workers who have helped build and contribute to Singapore. UBS Community Affairs identified that this was a vulnerable group of people in society that required help and we reached out to them by supporting FBSG.

"FBSG had previously performed a needs evaluation and is providing no-contact vending machines which will dispense free necessities and groceries for our migrant workers to alleviate some of the burden that they face. As the situation progresses, we are hoping to resume physical volunteering activities and increase our impact on the community."

Migrant workers staying in the dormitory will be given a S$50 Food Bank Card that they can use to redeem items at just S$2 each.

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