Pekik Community Services is a self-help group which has been working in one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Singapore. As in many poor neighbourhoods elsewhere in the world, the community in which our beneficiaries live is plagued with problems like absent parents, drug addiction, gang-related activities.
But hunger and insufficient food tops the list of problems in the community. There are senior citizens in the community who are less-abled and dependent on food distribution programmes to have at least one decent meal a day. The only proper foods some of the children in our areas eat are in their school tuckshops, provided by initiatives such as the School Pocket Money Fund.
We cannot turn a blind eye to this problem in our community and have decided to launch our Community Kitchen programme to benefit such residents. We want to provide simple, and yet nutritious meals to at least 100 senior citizens and children in our areas. This programme is essential and will supplement the other food programmes in our areas.
Our hearts break every time we hear about how a child goes hungry, or about how the elderly don’t have enough to eat. There are many stories hungry individuals in the community. Some of our volunteers who live in the neighbourhood tell stories of children knocking on their doors to ask if there was leftover food to give them.
One of our beneficiaries, Mr and Mrs Mahda for example, live in a 1-room rental flat in York Hill. Mr Mahad’s wife is paralysed from waist-down and is wheelchair bound. Mr Mahad is the main caregiver for his wife. He is unemployed with severe financial constraints, and often have very little to eat.
Iqmal and Imran’s stories are also sad ones. Both their parents are in prison. The brothers are being cared for by their grandmother. Besides them, their grandmother is also caring for 5 of their cousins. Many times, there is not enough food in the house to feed all of them.
These are stories of just some off the saddest families in the community. It is unimaginable that in Singapore, a city with so much affluence, some children and the elderly can go hungry.
Through our programme, we hope to feed at least 100 people a month – or provide over 26,500 meals a year. The cost of providing one meal is about $3 per meal. The cost for providing over 26,500 meals for the year will be $80,000.
Many people don’t think much about spending over $10 for a single meal. But it is not so for the beneficiaries of Pekik. We hope those that hear of the work we do here will open their wallets and donate generously for our community kitchen programme.