Fortitude Budget: More support for charities as help requests surge
He lost his entire income because of the pandemic, and found himself struggling to feed his family.
The man in his 50s became desperate as his meagre savings dried up. He turned to Food from the Heart, a charity providing food.
Its chief executive, Ms Sim Bee Hia, said the man insisted on collecting the food pack himself instead of having it delivered to his home.
She told The New Paper: "He was ashamed and didn't want his children to know he couldn't provide food for them. It's an extreme struggle for any father."
He is just one of many who have turned to charities to survive.
Calling them "the new poor", Ms Sim said there has been a recent surge in requests.
"We used to get maybe 15 requests for food packs per week, but this month we saw 80 requests in a week," she said.
"People have a picture of how the poor look like: Elderly, living alone, or families with young children. But we have seen a drastic shift with more families with teenage or even adult children, who suddenly find themselves unable to cope."
She added that Food from the Heart has given out about 8,500 food packs this month, as compared with 6,500 in March.
In his Fortitude Budget speech in Parliament yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat highlighted the importance of social service agencies and charities, and said more support will be given to them.
These include increased matching for the Enhanced Fund-Raising Programme, which will have an additional $100 million added to its $70 million budget.
Charities can apply to receive dollar-for-dollar matching on donations, up to $250,000 each.
The Invictus Fund, earlier set up by the National Council of Social Service to provide additional support to social service agencies, will also be given a $18 million top-up as part of the Fortitude Budget.
"While continuing to be passionate about supporting the vulnerable in our community, our charities and social service agencies are facing difficulties," said DPM Heng.
"I strongly urge Singaporeans and residents in Singapore who are able, to donate generously."
Ms Sim welcomed the move, as it allows charities to better accommodate the increasing requests for help.
"We've been seeing exponential growth in requests because of the pandemic, and we expect even more as people use up their savings," she said.
"There's this growing sense of despair and hopelessness...
"I may not be able to help them with all their problems, but at least I can give them a food pack," she added.