Stay-home mums bake cookies for 1,140 low-income families to celebrate National Day

North East District Mayor Desmond Choo (second from left) speaking and handing a goodie bag to a resident, on Aug 4, 2022. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

SINGAPORE - Housewife Wang Jiayuan, 54, joined a baking programme  in 2018 in the hope of supplementing the family income with a new skill.

But she got breast cancer in 2019, which left her feeling weak and unable to work.

Her family of four, including two sons aged 19 and 21 in junior college and university, respectively, is supported by her husband, who works in a warehouse.

Despite having to make weekly trips to the clinic, Ms Wang, along with four other stay-at-home mums, came on board this year's run of the Heart Bakers @ North East programme to bake cornflake cookies for low-income families in the North East District.

The initiative, which is part of National Day celebrations in the district, is jointly led by the North East Community Development Council, North East Grassroots Organisations and start-up NextBlock. It is supported by non-profit organisation Bizlink and ride-hailing firm Grab.

The baked goods were bought by residents and companies to be distributed to 1,140 less privileged residents by volunteers and Grab drivers.

The jars of cookies were packed in goodie bags together with other household items, as well as traditional Singapore snacks and games such as capteh and paper ball.

The volunteers were joined by mayor of North East District Desmond Choo in the distribution on Thursday (Aug 4).

The Heart Bakers @ North East  programme was launched in 2018 with the aim of helping stay-at-home mothers from low-income families start their own home businesses.

It was put on hold during the pandemic in the past two years.

These mothers are typically unable to have a full-time job because of health issues or the need to care for their children. They are introduced to the programme through grassroots recommendations.

Participants are trained in baking in a kitchen provided by Bizlink.

Mr Choo said: "Over the years, we have trained many Heart Bakers, and I think it's especially meaningful to see that even though they are going through tough times, they have found the time and space to give back to people who might be even worse off than them.

"They give hope to the rest of Singaporeans that even though your circumstances may be tough, we will look out for each other."

North East District Mayor Desmond Choo hands a goodie bag to a resident, on Aug 4, 2022. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Ms Wang said the programme has given her the opportunity to pick up baking despite not having an oven at home.

She said she finds joy in helping the less privileged, such as joining a residents' committee programme teaching children to cook.

"My hands still hurt and feel weak at times, but I think it's meaningful to help others if I can," she said.

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