StarHub and The Food Bank Singapore partner to dispense food aid in 11 housing estates

Singapore, 28 January 2021 – Responding to increased demand for food aid amid current economic conditions, StarHub and The Food Bank Singapore (FBSG) today announced a partnership to address food insecurity and accessibility using technology. This initiative provides support to over 2,200 beneficiaries, who can each withdraw much-needed food bundles totalling $50 every month, 24x7, at no cost to them.

Called ‘The Food Pantry 2.0’, the FBSG flagship programme dispenses food to those in need through its network of vending machines conveniently located at the void decks of housing estates. StarHub’s sponsorship of close to $190,000 from its StarHub Cares COVID-19 Fund enables FBSG to operate and stock up its vending machines with food items in 11 housing estates – a five-fold increase from just two locations initially – to serve many more beneficiaries for six months.

Apart from helping to cover the machine operating and food costs, StarHub, together with its parent company ST Telemedia (STT), have also responded to FBSG’s call for more helping hands. Staff volunteers from StarHub and STT have adopted vending machines in four housing estates, replenishing the machines for a month. StarHub and FBSG will continue to identify more opportunities to provide relief to the more vulnerable in the community.

Both companies marked the start of the partnership this morning by refilling the food vending machines located at the Moral Seniors Activity Centre (Kaki Bukit) to serve residents living in the nearby rental blocks.

“Some segments of our community struggle to put food on the table. In response, we stepped up and are working in close partnership with FBSG to provide the more vulnerable groups with greater support. We are pleased to be able to facilitate 24x7 access to food and boost efficiency by deploying technology. A greater number of beneficiaries can now gain free and easy access to essential staples and nourishing food round the clock at their convenience,” said Ms Veronica Lai, Chief Corporate Officer, StarHub. “With willing hearts and hands from our staff volunteers, as well as expertise in connectivity, we have been extending support to families, seniors, students and migrant workers impacted by the effects of the pandemic. We sincerely hope that our collective efforts will make some difference to those who are adversely affected.”

“With the aim of setting up 60 more vending machines in 2021, we need partners like StarHub who can contribute financial support and provide volunteers to enhance operations and care for our beneficiaries. By marrying the use of technology and the engagement of StarHub and its employees, we are better able to make improvements to this programme, such as providing healthier alternatives and improving the quality of food available. This will enable us to continuously provide targeted food aid to communities with little access to sufficient and nutritious food,” said Ms Nichol Ng, Co-Founder, The Food Bank Singapore.

FBSG is identifying over 2,200 beneficiaries in collaboration with the social service agencies that are supporting families and seniors in the 11 housing estates. With an FBSG Bank Card in hand, these beneficiaries will be able to withdraw 25 food bundles every month at no cost at all.

Each food withdrawal contains a mix of food items, including oil, staples such as brown rice and noodles, canned meat and vegetables, biscuits, cereal and healthier low or no-sugar drinks. In addition, food donations received by FBSG will be checked thoroughly before being channelled to these vending machines, reducing food waste in the ecosystem.

StarHub’s latest food distribution initiative is part of its series of community support programmes, which have raised and disbursed over $1 million to healthcare workers, lower-income families and seniors, students and migrant workers to lessen the impact of COVID-19. Standing in unity with Singapore, StarHub will continue to add and recalibrate support measures in line with community needs.