Deepavali cheer for Sinda beneficiaries

Mr Dharumalingam Sinnakannu receiving his trolley of groceries from Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran yesterday. With them were (from left) FairPrice deputy chief executive and head of products Tng Ah Yiam, Singapore Indian Devel
Mr Dharumalingam Sinnakannu receiving his trolley of groceries from Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran yesterday. With them were (from left) FairPrice deputy chief executive and head of products Tng Ah Yiam, Singapore Indian Development Association CEO Anbarasu Rajendran and FairPrice CEO Seah Kian Peng.ST PHOTO: SHINTARO TAY

Yesterday morning, Mr Dharumalingam Sinnakannu gladly made an hour-long trip from Punggol where he lives to Bedok to receive a gift.

He was all smiles as he collected his hamper full of groceries such as rice, oil and coffee at Bedok North's FairPrice outlet, as part of the supermarket's Deepavali celebrations.

"The groceries will go a long way in making my wife and children happy this Deepavali," said the 46-year-old cargo handler who has two teenage children.

"I am a low-income person. So with these, we can prepare Deepavali food and pastries. The food in the hamper is useful," he added.

He was one of 100 beneficiaries from the Singapore Indian Development Association (Sinda) who received food hampers from the supermarket's charity arm FairPrice Foundation yesterday, ahead of Deepavali on Oct 27.

Distributing the hampers to seven families was Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran, who said that when society combines its efforts, it can reach out to more people who are in need.

Mr Iswaran said: "What is distinctive about Singapore is that we are an inclusive multiracial society. Inclusive - because we look after, we care for one another. We find ways at the national level and at the community level to help those who may be in need.

"And this (initiative) is a very good example of how we can do this to complement national-level programmes. It is a joint effort between NTUC FairPrice - representing a corporate sector - and social organisation Sinda."

Other families collected their food hampers throughout the day.

 
 

Previously, FairPrice also distributed goodie bags, food vouchers and cheques to various groups in need ahead of other festive celebrations such as Hari Raya.

Mr Seah Kian Peng, chief executive of FairPrice, said: "We hope this will help ease some of the financial burdens for these families and make it a little better for them when they celebrate Deepavali."

To promote greater cultural understanding between the various races, the supermarket chain has also partnered the National Heritage Board to present a roving exhibition about Deepavali and other Hindu festivities, such as Thaipusam and Holi, within the premises of its supermarkets.

The exhibition has started at its Bedok North Avenue 1 outlet and will move on to outlets in East Point Mall, Bukit Timah Plaza and Jem throughout next month.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 30, 2019, with the headline 'Deepavali cheer for Sinda beneficiaries'. Print Edition | Subscribe