BUDGET 2016 - Shaping our future together: Speech extract

Firm has growing appetite to feed the needy

Samsui Supplies and Services staff and volunteers serving meals at the HCA Hospice Care headquarters last year. Samsui, a subsidiary of the Soup Restaurant Group, provides 2,000 meals a day to the needy, usually for free or at a minimal cost of about
Samsui Supplies and Services staff and volunteers serving meals at the HCA Hospice Care headquarters last year. Samsui, a subsidiary of the Soup Restaurant Group, provides 2,000 meals a day to the needy, usually for free or at a minimal cost of about $1 a meal.PHOTO: SAMSUI SUPPLIES AND SERVICES

When food retailer and supply chain company Samsui Supplies and Services was started three years ago, its management was looking for a philanthropy project that was no flash in the pan.

Its director for business development, Mr Ang Kian Peng, told The Straits Times yesterday: "We wanted to do something on a very sustainable basis, rather than ad hoc. Many corporate social responsibility programmes are just once or twice a year.

"And since we are a kitchen specialist dealing with food, we realised we could use our skill sets to help charities and nursing homes."

 

Samsui, which is a subsidiary of the Soup Restaurant Group, now supplies 2,000 meals a day to the needy.

 

This is up from about 100 to 200 when the project first started. As Mr Ang noted, it "took some time for people to buy into what we were doing".

These meals - mainly local fare such as chicken curry, laksa and mee rebus - are usually provided to the needy for free or at a minimal cost of about $1 a meal, Mr Ang said.

To keep costs low, the company engages its vendors and business partners to contribute to the preparation and distribution of the meals.

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat cited Samsui as an "inspiring example" of a company that is contributing to society.

He announced more tax breaks and dollar-for-dollar matching for companies yesterday, as part of moves to encourage more businesses to step forward.

Mr Ang said he hopes that these measures will draw more corporate sponsors to come on board and join its initiative, so that they can "do more together".

And Samsui's goal, he said, is to scale up the project by "two to three times".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 25, 2016, with the headline 'Firm has growing appetite to feed the needy'. Print Edition | Subscribe