Charities working with businesses to help beneficiaries

Businesses are supporting charities in a bigger way, as they step up efforts this festive season to feed the needy. Besides donating their time and money, some firms have been rallying other companies to get involved.

One of them is Food from the Heart, which hands out food packs to about 3,300 households every month. The non-profit group was set up 12 years ago and every Christmas, it holds parties for the needy living around four of its self-collection centres. This year, it held seven Christmas parties and hosted 552 beneficiaries to a feast.

For the first time, it worked with food guide website HungryGoWhere, which in turn roped in 31 restaurants to contribute festive goodies.

“I think all the different corporations, they do embrace the spirit of giving,” said Food from the Heart’s executive director Anson Quek. “A lot of our events are sponsored and also funded by like-minded people, corporations, so they do contribute to us and definitely help us extend more reach to the residents.”

Another charity, Free Food For All, has served about 5,000 meals each month since it started in November last year. It hopes to dish out twice as many, with the help of corporate initiatives.

“We strongly believe that the corporates in Singapore will be our backbone with regard to making this free food programme a reality,” said Free Food For All’s founder Nizar Mohammad Shariff. “The numbers are steadily increasing and we’re gearing towards providing 10,000 meals a month. We definitely need the support of corporates for that.”

The group also needs help to cover current monthly expenses of about S$10,000.

Ahead of Christmas, real estate investment firm Walton International hosted a reception to promote Free Food For All’s cause to its clients and contacts. It was the first time the charity worked with a corporation and S$750 was raised on the spot.

Some planned to contribute more funds over the next few months, and others placed more donations in a large donation can on the premises. Walton staff were also encouraged to volunteer for and donate to the cause.

“With a small company, there are limited resources,” said Walton International’s vice president of sales Suriyana Safie. “So by us coming in, and by other corporates who are willing to come in and help this organisation, it definitely can reach out to more people, particularly the needy.”