5 pillars of Total Defence

Online food mart helps businesses give back

Co-founders Ms Chong (left) and Ms Lin of The Social Co, a think-tank aimed at solving social issues. Their new initiative, The Social Pantry, provides employment to people with disabilities.
Co-founders Ms Chong (left) and Ms Lin of The Social Co, a think-tank aimed at solving social issues. Their new initiative, The Social Pantry, provides employment to people with disabilities.ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM

The Total Defence campaign was started in 1984 to remind Singaporeans of the roles they play - individually and collectively - in building a strong nation and guarding against threats. Every year, Total Defence Day is observed on Feb 15 - the day Singapore fell to the Japanese in 1942, during World War II. The five pillars of Total Defence - military defence, civil defence, economic defence, social defence and psychaological defence - form an enduring framework which emphasises that everyone can make a difference. The Straits Times looks at how Singaporeans are playing their part in Total Defence.

When companies stock up on foods such as coffee and biscuits for their pantries, they also provide employment to people with disabilities.

Delivery orders of items placed through an online mart called The Social Pantry are picked and packed by beneficiaries from the Association for Persons with Special Needs, who receive a token allowance for their work.

The Social Pantry, which was beta launched in August last year and gets an average of two to three orders a week, was started by The Social Co and Samsui Supplies and Services, a subsidiary of the Soup Restaurant Group.

It will be officially launched next month, adding stationery supplier Menlon Agency to the initiative.

Ms Rebekah Lin, 32, who founded The Social Co with her friend Cheryl Chong, 31, said the aim of The Social Pantry is to show how businesses can make money and give back to society.

The Social Co, a think-tank aimed at solving social issues, was also behind the 50 For 50 campaign, which raised close to $2.25 million for 58 local charities. This sum was matched equally by the Government, for a total of $4.5 million.

The project encouraged individuals under the age of 35 to design their own fund-raising activities and launch sustainable projects to help charities.

Ms Lin said: "I have seen everyone come together, regardless of race or religion, to work on different social causes."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 15, 2017, with the headline 'Online food mart helps businesses give back'. Print Edition | Subscribe