Donating CNY snacks? Make sure it's fit to eat, says Food Bank

Ms Ng said the condition of some of last year's collection of Chinese New Year goodies was "really bad", such as resealed, half-consumed jars of love letters. She urged donors to respect the beneficiaries.
Ms Ng said the condition of some of last year's collection of Chinese New Year goodies was "really bad", such as resealed, half-consumed jars of love letters. She urged donors to respect the beneficiaries.ST FILE PHOTO

The Food Bank Singapore is appealing to donors to make sure what they donate is okay to eat, after some items were found to be unfit for consumption.

Its inaugural Chinese New Year food distribution programme last year handed out goodies to the needy which otherwise would have gone to waste.

However, the charity's co-founder, Ms Nichol Ng, told The Straits Times that the condition of some donations - such as resealed, half-consumed jars of love letters - was "really bad".

"We hope everyone understands that once the bottles are opened, they have been compromised and we are unable to redistribute the items," said Ms Ng. "When donating, please be mindful that we also wish to respect our beneficiaries."

The charity, set up in 2012, redistributes donated food to the needy throughout the year. It also promotes awareness about food wastage by giving talks to schools, businesses and organisations.

Ms Ng noted that donations have been generous to date.

Within a month after the last Chinese New Year, Food Bank received about 4,200 tins of festive cookies from individuals and organisations.

The snacks were redistributed to 137 help groups, including family service centres and children's homes.

With this year's Chinese New Year looming, the charity will post messages on its Facebook page next week urging people to buy only the amount they need.

Food waste in Singapore has increased by about 48 per cent over the last 10 years and accounts for about 10 per cent of all waste produced here.

Consumers threw away 788,600 tonnes of food in 2014 - the equivalent of two bowls of rice per person every day.

It is not only during Chinese New Year that there is food wastage.

Food Bank collected more than 11,000 mooncakes after the Mid-Autumn Festival last year.

Supermarket chain Giant donated more than 1,500 tubs of festive goodies after Hari Raya.

"We are not targeting to beat our records last year," said Ms Ng. "In fact, we will be happy if less is donated because it may mean that there is less wastage.

"We will still reach out to more people so that everyone will know there is an option to donate rather than just dump."

Food Bank and Food from the Heart have collaborated with Giant supermarket to collect non-perishable food rations like rice and non-food groceries like toilet paper for its beneficiaries.

Collection points are located at the Tampines, Parkway Parade, VivoCity and IMM stores and the donation drive ends tomorrow.

Donors can drop off their excess Chinese New Year goodies at Food Bank's warehouse at Tanjong Pagar Distripark, 39, Keppel Road, 03-08, Monday to Friday from 10am to 7pm, and City Square Mall, on level 2 beside the customer service counter.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 30, 2016, with the headline 'Food Bank's appeal: Make sure what you donate is fit to eat'. Print Edition | Subscribe