Tasty treat for elderly in Dakota Crescent

While most have already moved out of Dakota Crescent, which will soon be redeveloped, Madam Khng Keat Hong is still clinging on to her home of more than 57 years.

The 86-year-old widow, who suffers from arthritis, seldom leaves her three-room Housing Board rental flat, although she will have to vacate it by the end of next year.

Occasionally she gets food delivered to her but on most days, she fills her stomach with biscuits and bread. "A simple hot meal of rice, vegetables and chicken makes me happy," Madam Khng said in Hokkien.

Yesterday, she got more - a hot buffet spread of rice, noodles, vegetables, fried chicken, curry fish and omelette. Volunteers had knocked on doors at one of Singapore's oldest public housing estates to invite the old folks to lunch, which was served under a tent.

The meal was provided by OCBC Group, which also had about 260 volunteers from OCBC Bank, Great Eastern and Bank of Singapore turning up in Dakota Crescent as early as 8am, to pack and distribute goodies to the residents. Joining the volunteers was the MP for Mountbatten, Mr Lim Biow Chuan.

The contents of the goodie bags, which were distributed to some 350 households in the estate, were carefully planned.

The volunteers mixed dehydrated vegetables, soya and 23 types of essential vitamins and minerals into packets of uncooked rice to create an easy-to-cook nutritious meal for the residents.

Said volunteer Goh Thiam Soon, 63: "The elderly and needy tend to be very thrifty when it comes to food. From time to time, I have seen them buying plain rice or noodles, enough to stave off hunger pangs and feed many for a small price, but lacking in nutrition."

Mr Roger Neo, 56, centre manager of Tung Ling Community Services in Dakota Crescent for the past nine years, said there is no lack of outings organised for the elderly in the estate, but many of them are unable to join as they are old and cannot walk for too long.

"When the residents saw the tentage set up in the common area, they got really excited and asked me what was the occasion," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 02, 2015, with the headline 'Tasty treat for elderly in Dakota Crescent'. Print Edition | Subscribe