FairPrice ups staff volunteer hours to 5,000 for SG50

SINGAPORE - Ms Yvonne Hu, a FairPrice purchasing and merchandising manager, is part of the supermarket chain's volunteer scheme.

Last year, the 32-year-old joined others in her department to spend time with elderly residents at the Ren Ci Nursing Home once a month.

"Volunteering together helps us free our mind from work to do something good. That in turn makes us feel good and it drives productivity as a team," she said.

This year, FairPrice has more ambitious plans to ramp up staff volunteer hours.

Yesterday, at a volunteer event at the Jalan Tan Tock Seng home, chief executive Seah Kian Peng announced the new goal - 5,000 hours - to tie in with Singapore's 50th birthday celebrations.

The company's staff volunteer programme was launched in 2012 with a goal of clocking 2,300 hours each year by 2016. It hit this goal ahead of schedule last year.

Mr Seah said FairPrice will approach more organisations to open up additional volunteering options. The retailer works with organisations like Ren Ci, the Community Chest and People's Association. Employees can also source for organisations which they would like to help.

Close to one in three of FairPrice's 9,000 employees is part of the company's volunteer programme.

To make up the 5,000 hours, they would each have to do an average of almost two hours of volunteer work, on their own time.

On top of time spent with beneficiaries, planning and logistics time also goes towards the total hour count.

Ms Hu admitted that her biggest challenge was balancing the competing demands of work, volunteering and family.

Her solution - her family tags along to volunteer on weekends.

"It's a win-win situation, because volunteering allows us to bond with our family, too," she said.

This article was first published on February 27, 2015.
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