Food and fun for 3,000 migrant workers at giant potluck

Migrant workers holding up their roti prata in before they attempted to break the world record for the most roti prata eaten in one sitting at the Itsrainingraincoats event at Terusan Recreation Centre on June 24, 2018.
Migrant workers holding up their roti prata in before they attempted to break the world record for the most roti prata eaten in one sitting at the Itsrainingraincoats event at Terusan Recreation Centre on June 24, 2018. ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO
Migrant workers queueing to collecting their food.
Migrant workers queueing to collecting their food.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO
Senior Minister of State Sim Ann and other volunteers handing out food to workers.
Senior Minister of State Sim Ann and other volunteers handing out food to workers.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO
Workers queueing up to select second-hand clothing at the ItsRainingRaincoats event.
Workers queueing up to select second-hand clothing at the ItsRainingRaincoats event.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

SINGAPORE- It took a month of planning coupled with the generosity of many to pull off what is believed to be the biggest potluck for migrant workers in Singapore.

Close to 3,000 workers showed up for fun, food and festivities at the Terusan Recreation Centre, in Jurong, on Sunday evening (June 24). It was organised by social enterprise initiative ItsRainingRaincoats, which focuses on migrant worker issues.

Said ItsRainingRaincoats' founder, Ms Dipa Swaminathan, 46: "It's really touching to see it all come together. There's a saying along the lines of 'ask, and the universe will conspire to help', especially when you're doing something good. That has happened here."

About a month ago, Ms Swaminathan, a lawyer, put up a post on social media on the idea for a big potluck, and the responses she received were overwhelming.

"That's the beauty of this event, everything was ground-up. Other than the money for the food I cooked, I put in zero dollars," she said.

Most of the food and activities were either donated, sponsored or heavily subsidised by members of the public who wanted to help out. The venue was also provided for free by JTC Corporation.

Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth and for Communications and Information, was the guest of honour for the potluck and turned up with nasi lemak for the event.

At the potluck, workers got to enjoy an array of food, ranging from local dishes such as chicken rice and prata, to ice cream, pastries and cakes. A photobooth and a second-hand thrift store added to the workers' enjoyment.

Said Ms Swaminathan: "A month ago this was just a pipe dream. Today it became a reality with thousands participating - whether as a donor, volunteer or beneficiary.

"Every time I put out a call for help, someone responded."