400 volunteers pitch in to pack meals for victims

400 volunteers pitch in to pack meals for victims
Volunteers putting together meal packets on Sunday at the Masaya Meals Campaign, organised by the Food Bank Singapore to help Haiyan victims. The 15,000 packets will be shipped out by Thursday.

More than 400 volunteers spent their Sunday on Sunday packing 15,000 meal packets, which can feed nearly 100,000, for victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan.

The Masaya (which means "happy" in Tagalog) Meals Campaign was organised by the Food Bank Singapore (FBS), a one-year-old charity that packs donated food and distributes it to Singapore's needy.

This is FBS' first international disaster relief effort. Eager volunteers worked tirelessly in two-hour shifts in a function room at *Scape in Orchard Link to put together the food packages.

"It is wonderful to spend my Sunday with like-minded and passionate people. They brought their young children, eager to help out and show support for those affected by the devastation," said 55-year-old volunteer Carmen Seah, a property agent.

FBS, which is linked to the international hunger relief agency Stop Hunger Now, is working with Buckets for Jesus, a non-profit organisation run by a Singaporean and Filipino missionary couple based in the Philippines, to distribute the food packets in affected cities such as Tacloban. They will be shipped out to Cebu by Thursday and should reach survivors by Dec 1.

The meal packs, comprising rice, soy flakes, dried vegetables, seasoning and vitamins, can be prepared in a pot over a fire. A standard pack can feed six people said FBS co-founder Nichol Ng, 35.

In addition, the organisation hopes to raise $45,000 to cover the cost of the food items. So far, it has managed to garner $10,000. It will accept donations until the end of the month.

"Everyone has been sad this past week because of the devastation. We wanted to organise an event where people could take joy in putting together food packages that will bring a smile to the faces of those in need in the Philippines," said Ms Ng.

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