Over the weekend, the Singapore American School 6B social studies unit volunteered with Food From the Heart (FFTH) in a well-run community food pack program.
FFTH is a non-profit charity founded in 2003. Their beneficiaries include those in welfare homes, neighborhood schools, and those living in Singapore's heartlands. Regardless of race, language, or religion, we extend our support to households with a per capita income of S$450 per month.
It was an eye-opening day not only for the students who were able to attend but also to the adults in attendance. We delivered food to HDB residents who live in one-room apartments, often with a roommate. The coordinator for the community food pack briefed us about what to expect and said one volunteer commented, "The hallways smell like poverty." That helped prepare us for delivering the bags of food.
We packaged food items: rice, oil, biscuits, pickled vegetables, sardines, Kit Kat bars, and juice boxes, along with a dozen eggs and a bit of fresh fruit. Eighty-five bags were then delivered to specified residents.
The day made a huge impression on the hearts and minds of all those who volunteered!
Some of the comments we heard around the room:
"The rooms are quite small."
"If someone didn't live with a family member, the government paired them up with another single person."
"People are living in poverty right before our eyes—but we don't even see it."
"People pay S$5—S$25 every month to rent the HDBs. It's a percentage of what they can afford."
"I was shocked to see some young people living in the apartments."
"Fresh food is really expensive."
We saw a side to Singapore not often observed by outsiders, and for that, we feel very grateful and fortunate. It made us truly appreciate what we have—food, clothing, shelter, education—and reflect on the quality of our own lives.
A special thanks to Erika Tull for suggesting we partner with FFTH.
Even though we are coming to the end of our social issues unit, we look forward to arranging one or two more volunteer opportunities for our 6B students before June.
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