SINGAPORE - A series of pop-up market events by the North West Community Development Council (CDC) for needy residents to collect care packs with food items specific to their needs will now be held quarterly instead of annually.
The WeCare @ North West – Service Weeks+ programme, which kicked off on Dec 10, 2022, was also extended to more households than its previous iteration, at a faster-than-expected pace.
The food distribution exercise, which was originally slated to end in March 2023, will now be completed on Jan 15, reaching about 8,000 households via events held throughout the CDC’s 14 divisions.
The divisions are Admiralty, Canberra, Chong Pang, Limbang, Marsiling, Nee Soon East, Nee Soon South, Nee Soon Link, Sembawang Central, Sembawang West, Ulu Pandan, Woodlands, Woodgrove and Zhenghua.
The 8,000 is up from 7,300 households under the annual WeCare @ North West – Service Weeks programme it supersedes, with the additional 700 drawn from households that are on the CDC’s welfare schemes but do not live in rental flats.
Beneficiaries can select 12 food items from a list of 34 items, via an online form, to be pre-packed by volunteers for them to collect at the pop-up market for their division.
They can also show up at the pop-up market for their division to pick out the 12 items from 29 on display, with volunteers from corporate partners and grassroots organisations on hand to help assemble the care packs, valued at about $50 each.
The items include staples such as rice and vegetable oil, as well as canned food, biscuits and instant noodles.
The CDC said the quarterly frequency will increase food assistance throughout the year, while the customised care packs allow residents the dignity of choosing food items best suited to their needs.
Two pop-up markets for the CDC’s Nee Soon Link division were held on Sunday, one for residents living around blocks 436 and 438 in Yishun Avenue 11, and the other for those living around blocks 461A and 461B in Yishun Avenue 6.
The first pop-up market was held on Dec 10, 2022, at Limbang in Choa Chu Kang, and was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, who is also adviser to Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC grassroots organisations.
More pop-up markets will be held from Jan 13 to Jan 15 at Woodgrove, Sembawang and Chong Pang, among other areas.
Attending the Nee Soon Link pop-up markets as guest of honour was Mr Derrick Goh, adviser to grassroots organisations in the Nee Soon Link ward of Nee Soon GRC.
“I am delighted that residents are using this opportunity to select foodstuffs as well as household items that are relevant to them, and this will certainly help them stretch their dollar,” said Mr Goh, who is also MP of the ward.
The Nee Soon Link beneficiaries were also given a packet of yellow noodles and kuay teow each, courtesy of food manufacturer Leong Guan, a new corporate partner based in the North West District.
Staff, together with youth volunteers from the North West Youth Assembly, also helped to set up and operate the market on Sunday.
Housewife Loh Soi Moi, 75, who lives alone in a rental flat after her younger son had to be admitted to a nursing home, was among those who received the care pack at the Nee Soon Link pop-up market.
Arthritis affects her mobility and makes leaving the flat difficult, so she receives free food deliveries from volunteers on weekdays.
Among the items she chose on the online form, with the aid of Singapore Anglican Community Services volunteers, were rice, instant noodles, luncheon meat, canned curry chicken and soya sauce, in a care pack delivered to her doorstep.
She said in Mandarin: “I can use these items to cook a nice meal for myself on Chinese New Year, as there are no food deliveries on these public holidays.”