Community fridge opens in Tampines for low-income families to pick up free groceries

The fridge is open from 7am to 10pm on days when food is available. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - Grassroots leader Abdullah Abdul Rahman wants people who come to pick up food from a community fridge in Tampines Changkat to feel like they are shopping in a supermarket.

"I arrange the items we get just like how you would see it in a supermarket fridge. Even if they are getting it for free, I want the people who come... to feel like they are shopping, I want them to feel happy," said the 37-year-old.

A resident of Block 117 Tampines Street 11 where the fridge - an initiative by the Tampines Changkat Citizens' Consultative Committee - is located, Mr Abdullah maintains and cleans it daily, alongside his neighbours.

Regular donors include grocer Tampines Mart, Fengshan Market and the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore, which provides vegetables from a community garden it runs.

At the launch on Saturday (Aug 6), the fridge was filled with dragonfruit, vegetables and eggs. Other food, such as beehoon, instant noodles and garlic, were placed on shelves beside the fridge.

North East District Mayor Desmond Choo told The Straits Times that he was heartened to see many elderly residents in the block take the project under their wing and help out with cleaning of the vegetables before they are placed in the fridge.

"We want to change the mindset that community fridges offer only discarded items. It can also present the best of things to people, items of good quality," he added.

"Our eventual goal is to have a fridge in every part of Tampines Changkat because we see this project as a platform where people can practise mutual care and help - for the community, from the community."

As there are many elderly residents in the block, Mr Abdullah sometimes packs the produce to deliver personally to neighbours who have mobility issues.

He expects the fridge, which is open from 7am to 10pm on days when food is available, to be operational seven days a week once it secures more donors.

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