Help the poor and needy in Singapore: "Belanja" a meal today!

Help the poor and needy in Singapore: "Belanja" a meal today!

Megan Cheah·2018-02-04 22:17

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Got a bit of extra cash on you? It seems that you don’t have to specifically look for charitable initiatives in Singapore - they can be found in all kinds of places if you know where to look. One such initiative is paying it forward, where you can pay additional for the meal of someone who needs it.

With how our old folks are struggling to survive, you can be sure that the help is much needed and much appreciated. 

If you head down to De Tian Coffee House in Bukit Batok, you’ll be able to “Belanja-a-Meal” for beneficiaries of the Bukit Batok East Zone 2 Residents’ Committee (RC).

Simply pay for their meals by approaching a stall owner and paying an extra $3.50. You’ll then receive a magnet which can be placed on a board in front of the coffee shop’s drink stall, where those who need it can pick up and redeem.

But where did the initiative even begin? While it is commonplace in certain countries, it began on a Facebook page in Singapore started back in 2013, named Chope Food for the Needy.

Inspired by Cafe Sospeso (“suspended” coffee) movement in Italy, where you buy your own coffee and leave more money for someone else, Chope Food for the Needy was a suspended meal movement where customers paid hawkers for meals in advance.

The idea also banked on the fact that the hawkers knew best which of their customers needed help, according to the movement’s founder, lawyer-turned-boutique owner Michelle Tan.

The page garnered around 12,000 likes and went viral both online and on the ground, until 2015 when Tan passed away from brain cancer. Since then, the posts have stopped and the movement slowly died down with it - although there have also been smaller initiatives that appeared across the years.

For example, Toast Box is currently features "Gift a Cup, Spread Some Warmth", where you can purchase a token at the price of a small coffee and hang them on a board for someone who needs it most.

However, this scheme is limited to coffee, and not a full, hearty meal similar to how Chope Food for the Needy had worked.

And thus, two years on, pay it forward meals now have a new champion - “Belanja-a-Meal” at De Tian Coffee House today, and you could be helping someone who really needs it.

Don’t worry about abuse from the system either - only those who have been identified by the RC benefit from the scheme, making sure your money goes to a good place.

Do you want to do your bit too? Here's where to go:

265 Bukit Batok East Ave 4, #01-405, S(650265)

Opening hours: daily 6am - 11.30pm

Do you know of any other initiatives that are also helping the poor and needy in Singapore?

(Image Credit/s: Rain Kooh, Charmaine Ong, Chope Food for the Needy)

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Food & Beverage Singapore Charity