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TAKING HEART

OCBC contributes S$300k to set up first community shop

The donation over 5 years will fund the shop set-up, operations and food supplies which will benefit nearly 5,000 eligible households

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The launch of Food from the Heart (FFTH)'s Community Shop @ Mountbatten, which will serve needy households from Marine Parade, Mountbatten and Marine Parade, was officiated by Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee (in red T-shirt) and Deputy Speaker and Member of Parliament for Mountbatten SMC Lim Biow Chuan.

Singapore

OCBC Bank will contribute a sum of S$300,000 and volunteer support for the operation of the first community shop in Singapore.

Community Shop @ Mountbatten, set up by Food from the Heart (FFTH), will enable close to 5,000 eligible households to obtain preferred food items instead of standard packages from charities and donors that may include items they do not require.

This will help minimise the stockpiling of unwanted food items and reduce food waste. The households that stand to benefit from this initiative includes those from the Mountbatten, Macpherson and Marine Parade constituencies.

The donation of S$300,000 over five years will fund the shop set-up, operations, and food supplies. In addition, the bank's staff will volunteer at the shop when FFTH needs additional manpower.

Supporting FFTH's aim to better understand consumption patterns, OCBC staff volunteers will leverage their data analytics expertise to assist in a year-long exercise to capture data to guide the provision of food items that match the needs of families in need.

Making right food choices, minimising food waste

As beneficiaries bag out their food selections, their consumption preferences are registered through the QR code on the card that each individual will use at the cashier counter.

OCBC's volunteers can analyse the data to offer insights, which include knowing if beneficiaries are making the right food choices, and preference for specific types of food.

The data will enable FFTH to replenish high-demand food, avoiding a mismatch of food donation; enhance public education on what to donate; and alert caregivers if individuals' dietary habits need to be modified.

This helps minimise food waste, which is in line with OCBC Bank's efforts to help fight climate change.

Since 2017, close to 600 staff volunteers have supported FFTH in its efforts.

Koh Ching Ching, OCBC Bank's head of group brand and communications, said: "Over the years, FFTH's efforts to uplift food security levels in Singapore have evolved to become more meaningful and relevant. We are glad to be able to support them in their journey of #GivingBetter to offer the needy more diverse choices."

In 2017, OCBC Bank started supporting FFTH by providing eggs to 2,500 households monthly. To date, the on-going project has seen the distribution of close to 900,000 eggs to 3,800 households.

Last year, staff volunteers supported two OCBC-funded pilot projects - "Project Belanja!" which enables vulnerable seniors to redeem cooked food from food stalls in their neighbourhood using QR code; and sponsoring monthly packs containing kidney-friendly food items for renal patients undergoing dialysis.

Ms Koh added: "We are committed to helping the needy in a strategic manner. This community shop is another good initiative to ensure that food donations match the needs of beneficiaries; and we will consider scaling up across other parts of Singapore, if it is successful."

The Community Shop aims to return the dignity of choice to the needy to choose food items that they require, instead of standard food packages.

It operates on a shop-for-free concept. Beneficiaries can choose 12 food items from the shelves each month and these can be taken on multiple visits to lighten the load, especially for seniors.

Beneficiaries are also encouraged to take only what they need, when they need them in order to reduce food wastage.