SINGAPORE - People from low-income families who need food can now order what they wish from the Encik Tan menu at any one of its eateries and pay with cards funded by Food Bank Singapore (FBSG).
This is part of a tap-a-meal initiative launched on Wednesday (Sept 22) called Feed the City 3.0, under which beneficiaries receive a card they can use to buy food worth up to $50 a month.
Encik Tan, which is under Fei Siong Group, is the first food and beverage partner of the initiative, but all of its 19 brands and over 150 outlets will eventually be available to beneficiaries.
A total of 5,000 cards have been distributed, with FBSG aiming to give out another 35,000 by next June. It also hopes to see 1,000 F&B partners by the end of 2022 so users can have more food choices.
FBSG gave out one million meals during the circuit breaker last year as part of its Feed the City (Take-Away Edition) project.
The new initiative came about in response to the non-profit group's concerns after beneficiaries gave feedback that they prefer to eat out instead of having fixed meals delivered to their homes.
Ms Nichol Ng, co-founder of FBSG, said: "They wanted choices, both in terms of food and time. They also felt that they lacked social interaction when meals were delivered. They preferred going out to eat."
She also said the project will support F&B businesses during the pandemic. FBSG is paying full price for the meals.
"Feed the City 3.0 aims to provide them with an additional revenue stream, helping them to save their livelihood," she added.
Beneficiaries can be referred by the 370 charities that FBSG works with, as well as social workers.
Madam Tan Teck Huay, 61, a new beneficiary referred by THK Social Service Hub, said she looks forward to going to the nearest Encik Tan a few times a month to have meals.
"I'm very happy to get this card, I am excited to go down to WestMall near my house and make use of it," said the Bukit Batok resident.
Mr Othman Musari, 70, said that being a beneficiary has come full circle for him.
"I used to be a volunteer when I was young, sending food to people's houses and checking on them. Now that I'm old, I'm the one receiving help," he said.
He added that being able to go out and choose his own food is good and he is looking forward to using the card.