SINGAPORE – A few months after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the food charity Willing Hearts began to receive more requests for its food distribution.
In response, his volunteers increased production in his Chai Chee kitchen, packing around 11,000 meals, up from 7,000 before the pandemic.
From now on, the association will be able to cook up to 15,000 meals a day – 4,000 more than before – with the opening of its new soup kitchen in Joo Chiat.
The new kitchen is about the size of three four-room Housing Board flats and three times the size of the association’s former premises in Chai Chee. It includes facilities that will help Willing Hearts increase its meal production, such as industrial ovens and hobs.
The new premises are also expected to serve as a shelter for homeless beneficiaries from August this year.
Willing Hearts founder Tony Tay said the charity was looking to recruit more volunteers and expand its services.
Mr Tay, who started the charity in his home kitchen in 2003, said: ‘During the pandemic we have seen more requests from different groups of residents, such as older people living alone and families who have lost their income, so we decided to step up our efforts to help them.
“It was the vision of the volunteers who helped us move into the new space, and I am grateful for their support.”
In his opening speech at the blessing ceremony for the new premises on Thursday May 12, Culture, Community and Youth Minister Edwin Tong, who was the guest of honour, highlighted the dedication of the association’s volunteers for the transition to the new kitchen.
He said: “I think these are the ways to make Singapore really more inclusive and a place where people will say there will be someone to watch over them and take care of them. I think we start with put a hot meal on the table.”
The halal-certified kitchen is run by a team of around 200 volunteers and operates year-round. He produces a nutritious spread daily, with around a ton of rice cooked every day.
Mr Tay said the charity, which receives support from wholesale producers and sponsors such as RedMart and Amazon for its groceries, has been able to continue providing cooked food to its beneficiaries despite rising costs. raw material costs in recent months.