It is good that your business wants to donate the food instead of throwing it away, but you need to make the effort to also match the donation with the right recipients, otherwise it still gets wasted. Donate instead to food charities such as Food Bank, Food From The Heart, Willing Hearts, Free Food For All, who have the network to make sure the food goes to the right people.
The long version:
Earlier tonight, some of you were treated to some excitement in this group. We received a tipoff that there were pallets of yoghurt donated by a supermarket to some rental flats, and these were left unattended at a void deck. You got to watch some of the excitement unfold as I gave you updates on the progress of how we activated our SG Food Rescue network to go rescue the food.
I deleted the previous post because the address was revealed there. I wouldn’t like a repeat of the previous incident, where food assistance was cut off after the donating charity found out that the food they donated was thrown into the bin. In this case, nothing was thrown away.
But still, I feel the need to speak out on this food wastage that’s going on. Hence this post.
The background of this story is that a supermarket donated 3 pallets of soon-to-expire yoghurt to a few blocks of rental flats. It is a popular donation area. These few blocks often receive lots of donations, including food and furniture, among others. It is also located in one of the poorest areas of Singapore. When you visit the area, you can feel it. Many of the people here are elderly and live in 1-room rental flats.
The RC received the food and started to distribute it among the elderly. They did their best and were able to give away 1 pallet of yoghurt, but the elderly just don’t eat this type of food. The balance 2 pallets were left at the void deck and would probably be discarded the next morning.
Someone tipped us off and we activated our food sharing network. This was a particular tough rescue, because we not only had to find drivers to collect, we also had to find fridge space to store all that yoghurt that needs to be kept chilled. Within this Whatsapp chat group, Food Rescuers stepped forward, offering their transport service and fridge space. Within an hour, we cleared both pallets. The rescue lasted till 3am.
Food waste occurs at all points of the food supply chain, even at the charity level. Why did this happen?
One of the reasons is because we have the mentality which says, “Oh, we have extra food. Let’s not let it go to waste. Let’s give it to the needy.”
Did we stop to think whether the needy wanted this type of food?
For example, in the past few weeks when we did our SGFR X URA Food Waste Awareness Drives, people commented that we should not have given this food to the people working in the CBD, but instead should have given it to the homeless. Do you think the homeless had a place where they could store and cook the veggies?
When we first started out, we also randomly gave away to the needy the food we rescued. As a result, the people who received it didn’t always consume the food and it went to waste. For example, you don’t give kale and avocadoes to the elderly. They wouldn’t know what to do with it.
As we got more experienced, we learned to work with specific Food Recipients who could match what they received with what their beneficiaries needed or wanted.
This is why food charities exist. Food Bank, Food From The Heart, Willing Hearts, Free Food For All. These are the charities with the capability to distribute food well by matching what they receive with the beneficiaries who can best use them.
Yes, it is good that your business wants to donate the food instead of throwing it away, but you need to make the effort to also match the donation with the right recipients, otherwise it still gets wasted.
�This is not the first time we have come across this, and I’m sure it will not be the last time. We will continue to keep rescuing the food that even the needy do not want. If you know of any food like this that is going to waste, that not even the needy wants, please share it in the SG Food Rescue Facebook group.
Source: Daniel Tay