Delivering food to low-income families

Undergraduate Emily Yap roped in friends and family to buy and distribute food to 10 low-income families with children who are beneficiaries of the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore. PHOTO: AUDREY WONG

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in Singapore, Ms Emily Yap's 81-year-old grandmother, who lives with her family and usually does the grocery shopping, was afraid to go to the supermarket.

Knowing the elderly are most vulnerable to the virus, she was reluctant to stand in long queues and jostle with others, especially when many items were unavailable.

Her grandmother's fears made Ms Yap realise needy families might be even worse off.

"On top of money being tight, food stocks might be in short supply in the neighbourhoods where they live," says the 21-year-old undergraduate, who is doing a nursing degree offered by the Singapore Institute of Technology and the University of Glasgow.

Having volunteered regularly at grassroots events for the past eight years, including some that involved children from the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (Minds), Ms Yap knew how she could help.

Funded by the National Youth Council's Young ChangeMakers Grant, she roped in friends and family to deliver groceries and essential items to 10 low-income families whose children are beneficiaries of Minds.

These families, who live in rental flats, are on short-term ComCare assistance, which means they have a maximum household income of $1,900, or $650 a person, each month.

Each family could choose the items they needed within a $100 budget, and were given a Health Promotion Board pamphlet on healthy eating to help them select the items.

"As a nursing undergraduate, I understand that diet makes a difference in health and well-being," says Ms Yap, who delivered the items in June.

Undergraduate Emily Yap, 21, roped in friends and family to buy and distribute food to 10 low-income families who have children that are MINDS beneficiaries. PHOTO: AUDREY WONG
  • This is the third of a five-part series in collaboration with DBS to showcase people in Singapore who have come together to uplift the community in these trying times. Read more at

About a week later, she followed up by posting a note of encouragement to the students.

She says: "During this period, some might feel isolated or lonely. I wanted to let them know that bad days don't last forever.

"If everyone helps one another along the way, our community will be much happier and more united."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 09, 2020, with the headline Delivering food to low-income families. Subscribe