Coronavirus: Singapore billionaire giving restaurant-quality meals to needy

Mr Kishin R.K.'s food firm TiffinLabs has set up a charitable foundation to provide food to those in need.
Mr Kishin R.K.'s food firm TiffinLabs has set up a charitable foundation to provide food to those in need.PHOTO: COURTESY OF MR KRISHIN RK

Food firm TiffinLabs, co-founded by one of Singapore's youngest billionaires Kishin R.K., has set up a charitable foundation to give free meals to the needy during the Covid-19 crisis.

The TiffinLabs Food is Love Foundation has partnered charity Free Food For All to distribute, as a start, 20,000 restaurant-quality meals, such as chicken rice and pasta prepared by the firm's chefs.

The distribution to those in need, including poor families and those who lost their jobs owing to the pandemic, began last Friday.

The foundation will give away another 10,000 meals to healthcare workers, among other plans.

TiffinLabs prepares and delivers cooked meals to its customers.

Mr Kishin, 36, told The Straits Times last Thursday: "We want to make sure there is food in every household - that no one goes hungry."

He is the son of property magnate Raj Kumar, who runs Royal Holdings. Mr Kishin sold off an apartment his parents gave him to start RB Capital when he was 23.

Today, the real estate acquisition and development firm owns the InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay and Park Hotel Farrer Park, among other properties. It has an asset base of over $5 billion.

Forbes estimates the father-son duo to have a net worth of US$2.6 billion (S$3.7 billion) as of Thursday. They were ranked 12th among Singapore's 50 richest last year.

Mr Kishin said he and the three other co-founders of TiffinLabs had planned to start the foundation before the coronavirus outbreak.

The scale of the crisis prompted them to speed up their plans.

The foundation aims to provide food to the underprivileged in Singapore and to other beneficiaries both here and overseas.


Mr Kishin declined to say how much money he has donated to start the foundation, adding: "It is both me and TiffinLabs coming together to give money to start the foundation."

He said: "I feel sad at seeing how many people all around the world are affected by Covid-19.

"And what comes to mind is - how can we help them?"

Mr Nizar Mohamed Shariff, 49, founder of Free Food For All, said he is grateful for the partnership with TiffinLabs, given the sharp increase in calls for help.

Towards the end of last month, the charity had about 700 new applicants asking for food in just three days. Before the pandemic, it usually saw 100 to 120 new applicants a month.

Many said they have lost their jobs or seen their incomes plunge due to the stricter circuit breaker measures to stem the outbreak, Mr Nizar said.


The father of four, who is married to a nurse manager, said: "Previously, by the time I was going to sleep, I felt so drained as the need was so great with the Covid-19 crisis, but we didn't have many resources."

Mr Nizar, who used to run a shipping business and does not take a salary from the charity, said he has pumped in a six-figure sum of his own money to keep it going.

He said of the partnership with TiffinLabs: "Now I feel we have more support, like there are more people who want to fight the good fight with us."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 27, 2020, with the headline 'Billionaire giving restaurant-quality meals to needy'. Subscribe