Lower-income families get festive gift packs containing healthier foods
The grocery packs had items with wholegrains or less sugar and were part of a drive to foster healthier eating, with the distribution on Saturday (April 23) benefiting about 700 lower-income families.
The initiative, which was held at the Muhammadiyah Association in Kembangan, is a collaboration between the Health Promotion Board (HPB) and 42 community partners.
It was also meant to complement HPB's two-month-long campaign, which aims to encourage the Malay community to adopt healthier lifestyles, such as by reducing their sugar intake in drinks and desserts during the festive period of Ramadan and Hari Raya.
Speaking at the event, Parliamentary Secretary for Health Rahayu Mahzam said it is a tradition during Ramadan to give food packs to the community.
"As we are giving out gift packs, we want to be very mindful that we're also giving out healthy, good things to people," she added, noting that some reasons why healthy eating habits are hard to adopt may be partly due to cultural and socio-economic factors.
The pack also contains information on how families can prepare drinks and desserts with less sugar, and a booklet of tips for smokers who wish to quit.
The distribution drive began on April 9 and will continue until the end of Ramadan, with a goal to reach 8,500 families in total. To date, more than 5,900 lower-income families have received the packs.
One of the 700 beneficiaries on Saturday is sole breadwinner Muhammad Taufiq Mohamed Rahim, 32, who lives in a one-room rental flat in Bedok with his wife and three children.
The delivery rider said food deliveries have been fewer during the Ramadan period as people are fasting. Working in the evening is also difficult because he needs to have a meal with his family to break the daily fast.
"Money is tight for me. With this, my financials will be quite stable for this month and it will also be easier for me to buy clothes for my kids," he added.
Another beneficiary, Ms Fauziah Awi, 46, a part-time delivery rider, said the grocery pack will alleviate some of the financial pressure on her as she has outstanding bills to pay.
On Saturday, gift packs were also handed out by other organisations.
More than 450 families received goodie bags and $120 worth of grocery vouchers from self-help group Singapore Indian Development Association (Sinda).
About 200 families were given festive hampers as part of a Ramadan outreach by volunteer groups Project Hills and Majlis Pelajar Pergas.