Bread donations up, so charity seeks more volunteers

Bread donations up, so charity seeks more volunteers
Food From The Heart volunteers Sally Kang (left), 66, and Foo Eng Tin, 63, at the Marine Terrace self-collection centre.

With more bakeries coming forward to donate unsold bread, Food From The Heart says it needs more volunteers to distribute the loaves.

From 2003, when the group was started, to last year, the number of bakeries and hotels supplying unconsumed bread and pastries has risen from 34 to more than 110.

Over about a decade, the amount of bread donated annually has also increased - from 120 tonnes to 320 tonnes. They go to more people too, from 9,000 in 2003 to 14,600 last year.

The charity, which released the data to The Straits Times last week, gets volunteers to collect the bread and deliver it to about 180 locations islandwide daily.

To reach more needy people, it is looking for more willing hands. It had about 2,300 active volunteers last year, and estimates it would need 800 more next year.

"As we set up more self-collection centres and partner new welfare homes, we will need an even bigger pool of volunteers... We depend solely on our volunteers to carry out bread missions each day," said executive director Anson Quek.

One volunteer who has been helping out for 11 years is Madam Cheam Liew Tin, 68, a member of the Marine Parade Citizens Consultative Committee.

Together with other volunteers, she gives out bread to about 120 low-income families weekly at a self-collection centre in Marine Terrace.

She said: "The bread distribution has helped the families, especially the children. They can be assured that they have bread to eat for the next morning."

Another charity, Food Bank Singapore, also distributes donated food to the needy, but donors drop off the items at the charity's office. Co-founder Nichol Ng said Food Bank receives about 150 tonnes of food each year

This article was first published on July 24, 2014.
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