SINGAPORE - Travelling to a supermarket is a difficult chore for Marine Parade resident Shariffa Abdul Gafoo.
The 70-year-old widow, who lives alone, has a knee condition that affects her mobility and makes it hard for her to commute to her nearest supermarket a few bus stops away. Thanks to a new community food initiative in her estate, she can now pick up groceries a few blocks from her home.
Launched on Thursday (Sept 23), the new FairPrice Food for Good Community Fridge @ Marine Terrace initiative was kick-started by FairPrice Foundation, which sponsored two new chillers and will be providing free fruit, vegetables, milk and meat worth $100,000 to 200 low-income families in the area for a year.
The products will be supplied every week from the FairPrice stores in the area, which include FairPrice Finest @ Katong and FairPrice Finest @ Marine Parade.
Madam Shariffa, who collected fruit and vegetables during the launch event, said: "As I do not have children and my family members live in other estates, it has been difficult for me to travel by myself and bring back heavy bags of groceries. This initiative is helpful because I can get fresh fruit and vegetables close to my home without worrying about the expenses as well."
Under the scheme, fresh produce will be delivered to Block 20 Marine Terrace on Saturdays, and a distribution drive conducted between 2pm and 4pm.
The walls and pillars of the block were adorned with art pieces created by students and teachers from Nanyang Girls' High School. They feature illustrations of fruits and vegetables as well as people bonding over food. These illustrations also offer residents in the area health tips and directions to the community fridges.
The initiative is in line with FairPrice's Food Waste Reduction drive, which aims to minimise waste from unsold but edible food. Under the scheme, all such food from the two FairPrice shops in the area will be donated to the community fridges.
During the distribution drive on Thursday, Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng and FairPrice Group chief executive officer Seah Kian Peng gave out produce to about 90 residents.
Mr Seah noted the impact of the pandemic on low-income families, which has brought about financial challenges that affect their ability to buy groceries.
"With the Food for Good Community Fridge Initiative, FairPrice hopes the weekly food distributions will provide some relief for them and, at the same time, foster the spirit of giving and sharing within our communities," he said.
Dr Tan noted how measures such as the expansion of the progressive wage model to more sectors and the local qualifying salary could give greater support to lower-wage workers in Singapore.
Speaking about the initiative, he said: "We hope that with this, we will continue to raise awareness on the plight of low-income families, in terms of making sure that they have sufficient fresh food.
"With the social support in place, we want to reach out to as many Singaporeans in need as possible."