Last Updated: December 23, 2020
This week, The Food Bank launched vending machines to help Singaporeans who experience food insecurity or food shortage. The machines dispense both dried and cooked food alike for those who need it. Every month, eligible residents will receive a card with a value of S$50 in credits from the non-profit group, The Food Bank Singapore.
The food is redeemable from three vending machines located along Senja Road, catered especially to residents around the Zhenghua district. This initiative supplements existing food insecurity programmes for seniors and households who live in either one- or two-room studio apartments or rental blocks.
Though often unseen, at least 10% of Singaporeans struggle to get sufficient, safe, and nutritious food in Singapore at least once in the past year, according to a study. Furthermore, of this 10.4%, two out of five households struggled to get such food at least once a month.
The Food Bank Singapore strives to bridge the gap through its network of 370 non-governmental organisations that aim to ease food insecurity in Singapore. The Food Bank currently serves approximately 300,000 people since its founding in 2012.
Prepared by an external caterer and then frozen for hygiene reasons, each packet of cooked food is valued at three credits. Residents who purchase this have the option of heating the food in a microwave built into the vending machines, or to heat it up at home via their own means.
On the other hand, dried food is valued at two credits usually donated from organisations such as schools and supermarkets. They are collected by The Food Bank and then distributed to the citizens in need via these newly launched vending machines.
The pilot will run until 31 December 2021, and a review will be conducted after to evaluate the campaign’s success. So far, the Zhenghua Constituency Office has sent more than 500 letters to eligible households that will benefit from the programme.