New initiative to provide meals for vulnerable families, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

New initiative to provide meals for vulnerable families

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An islandwide initiative will be rolled out to provide meals for vulnerable families in the heartland, said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Manpower Low Yen Ling yesterday.

Details of this scheme - which will allow needy families to redeem free meals and drinks at some coffee shops, foodcourts and heartland enterprises - are being worked out and will be released later, she added.

An estimated 100,000 families are expected to benefit from the initiative, which Ms Low (Chua Chu Kang GRC) said will also bring business to heartland joints and coffee shops affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

The five community development councils (CDCs) will administer the scheme, which builds on existing initiatives for the needy and will tap a new $20 million fund for CDCs announced in the Budget.

Ms Low was responding to Mr Png Eng Huat (Hougang), who had asked during Wednesday's debate if a grocery voucher scheme announced in the Budget should be extended beyond participating supermarkets to neighbourhood provision shops - to help small businesses.

The $100 voucher, for adult citizens who live in one- or two-room Housing Board flats and do not own more than one property, can be used at FairPrice, Giant and Sheng Siong supermarkets.

Ms Low, who is also Mayor of South West District, noted that some constituencies have already been working with heartland retailers and businesses to meet the nutritional needs of low-income residents.

Echoing Nominated MP Lim Sun Sun's points about how having access to nutritional meals can have a positive impact on a child's development, she said having food security may also strengthen resilience in families.

The CDCs will continue to support workers and heartland businesses, she added.

For instance, SME Centres have been set up in each of the five CDCs, in partnership with organisations such as trade associations, to reach out to heartland enterprises and provide advisory services, among other things, she said.

The CDCs have also been reaching out to workers to raise awareness of the SkillsFuture movement.