Charity Food For All to distribute ready-to-eat meals to the needy this Ramadan, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Charity Food For All to distribute ready-to-eat meals to the needy this Ramadan

This article is more than 12 months old

For many people, briyani and seafood fried rice are affordable coffee shop meals. But for the needy, these are luxuries and a far cry from regular meals of biscuits and instant noodles.

Local charity Free Food For All is aiming to help these people - along with those who may not be physically able to cook - this Ramadan, by distributing a wider variety of halal food.

Ramadan began last night. Today is the first day of the fasting month, when Muslims refrain from eating or drinking from dawn to dusk.

They will celebrate Hari Raya Puasa, marking the end of the month, on June 5.

Hoping to ensure no one goes hungry during Ramadan, the charity worked with a food manufacturing company in Brunei to create ready-to-eat meals that can be kept for at least a year.

These meals can be microwaved, heated on a stove or eaten out of the package. They are made from fresh ingredients and contain no preservatives.

"This technology is not new. But we wanted to use this concept to help the less privileged have access to food around the clock, especially the elderly and those who are not ambulant enough to cook," said the charity's founder, Mr Nizar Mohamed Shariff, 48.

"Producing the meals ourselves also means we can keep the costs low and still give these beneficiaries a variety of healthy and localised food choices."

This month, he hopes to distribute 800 cartons of food to 800 households. Each carton contains 36 food pouches.

Besides local savoury dishes such as fish briyani and buttermilk prawns, the charity is also giving out desserts like bubur pulut hitam (black glutinous rice porridge).

Mr Nizar said: "It does not matter if you do not fast or are not Muslim. During this month we want to tell people that there is food for you."

For a start, the charity is planning to distribute the food to elderly people in rental flats.

Over the five years that Free Food For All has been distributing cooked meals and groceries, Mr Nizar has noticed that some groups fall through the cracks.

Some were not ambulant enough to cook the groceries delivered while others could not stomach "cold and soggy" meals that had been cooked several hours earlier.

"I wanted to make sure that there is a proper meal for the needy at any hour," he said.

Mr Nizar hopes to continue distributing the ready-to-eat meals after Ramadan. The public can help fund the meals on Free Food For All's website.