A community initiative to distribute care packs of food items for needy households in north-western Singapore has been expanded to include more recipients, as well as to increase the frequency of the distribution of such packs.
The WeCare @ North West Service Weeks+, launched on Saturday, will see care packs, each worth about $50, distributed to more than 7,300 households every quarter, instead of once a year.
The scheme, introduced by the North West Community Development Council (CDC) in 2014, has been expanded to include needy residents under local welfare schemes, and those who do not live in rental flats. Previously, only those under the Public Rental Scheme would receive the care pack.
The revised scheme aims to cushion the impact of the higher cost of living.
Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, who was guest of honor at the launch in Limbang Park in Choa Chu Kang, said the initiative complements the government’s existing schemes for lower-income families and vulnerable groups.
“I am glad that more needy residents will be able to receive regular food aid throughout the year to defray household expenses, which will cushion the impact of the higher cost of living,” he added.
Also, beneficiaries can now choose up to 12 out of 34 items in the care pack, via an online form, from Saturday until Jan 15, 2023.
Pop-up markets will also be held at 24 locations across the north-west area during this period, where residents can choose the items in person. The next run will be in April 2023.
There were previously 21 items in the care pack, with beneficiaries unable to pick what they wanted.
Security officer Daniel George, 67, who has been living in a rental flat in the Limbang area for 11 years, said he was grateful for the initiative.
“Every item means a lot. I’m very thankful to be getting the care pack four times a year, especially at a time like this with inflation,” he said, adding that he would give items he does not need to other residents.
North West District Mayor Alex Yam said the initiative came about following feedback from residents and grassroots organisations.
“(The programme) signals our commitment to help a larger pool of beneficiaries more regularly, offering them the dignity of choice,” he said.
“The quarterly efforts will be supported by more corporate and community volunteers, who are passionate about helping the needy and want to do more.”
About 45 corporate and community partners are supporting the distribution, such as real estate firm City Developments Limited (CDL) and Keppel Group.
North West CDC said CDL will also be topping up each care pack with additional items such as personal hygiene products and essential household items.