North West district beneficiaries get to choose care pack items to meet urgent needs and cut waste

Former sales secretary Eleana Yuan (right) picked bathing and cleaning items, which she said can last her two months. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

SINGAPORE - When charities visit her home to offer care packs to the family, Madam Normahani Rohani, 31, a mother of eight children, finds it difficult to make full use of the goods provided.

Toiletries, face masks and cleaning supplies always come in handy, but some food items are wasted as her children do not always consume the ones given.

"I would rather choose the vegetables myself, so they don't get wasted," said Madam Normahani, who put aside several job offers in the past year to devote her time to looking after her children in their two-room rental flat.

Last Saturday (Dec 4), some 1,300 needy households in rental flats were given the option to customise their care packs for the first time under the North West Community Development Council's WeCare @ North West - Service Week initiative.

Beneficiaries from four divisions in North West District - Limbang, Nee Soon South, Sembawang Central and Zhenghua - could select up to eight household necessities worth around $50 through an online form ahead of the distribution.

Volunteers delivered the care packs to the doorsteps of beneficiaries.

The idea is to meet the urgent household needs of residents and minimise potential wastage, said Ms Carrie Tan, an MP for Nee Soon GRC, who attended the distribution on Saturday.

Beneficiaries in other divisions of North West District will receive customised care packs in another run of the initiative next month.

Madam Normahani chose laundry detergent, shampoo, toilet paper and other items that she estimated would last her family two weeks.

"Some of my kids have eczema, so it is good that I can choose the shower items I need based on the ingredients so that I can safely use them," she told The Straits Times after receiving her items on Saturday.

MP Carrie Tan (in white) with volunteers at the distribution of care packs in Nee Soon on Dec 4, 2021. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

With most of her children at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, she said it has been a challenge to provide food for them as her husband, a cleaner, is the family's sole breadwinner.

"At least I have some savings because of the donations and I can use the money for the next few weeks. Once all the kids go to school, it will be a bit better because I can go to work again," said Madam Normahani, whose children are between one and 12 years old.

Madam Eleana Yuan, 70, a former sales secretary, picked bathing and cleaning items, which she said can last her two months.

"These donations help me a lot with my expenses as I have retired and don't earn money. Last time, I gave away some donated items like oats, coffee and beans as I do not consume them. I usually give them to my son and his family," she said.

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