New Woodlands community minimart offers healthier picks
Mr Toh Kok Jin, 59, has been eating more healthily in the past month since he started cooking for himself more often.
He uses items he picks up for free at the community minimart Store@Woodlands, which opened on July 5, and buys food less often from coffee shops near his rental flat, where he lives alone.
"The food I cook is less oily than the food sold outside, so it is better for me to come here and choose the things I need to cook my own meals," the factory worker, who has high cholesterol and high blood pressure, said in Mandarin.
More than 120 residents have visited Store@Woodlands, located at Block 852 Woodlands Street 83, to pick up food items and daily necessities since its opening.
They can select up to nine items for free every month under the joint initiative by the Woodlands branch of the PAP Community Foundation and the Woodlands Citizens' Consultative Committee.
Yesterday, the store distributed its first batch of fresh vegetables - amounting to about 360kg and sourced from community gardens nearby.
Retiree Lejah Amat, 69, said: "I am thankful for the rations I received in previous years. But now I can even get cabbage and broccoli here.
"Having more choices is good because I can go to the supermarket less."
Sembawang GRC MP Mariam Jaafar said the store aims to serve more than 150 low-income families.
"We have distributed food rations to residents in need over the years, thanks to donations from various partners," the MP for the Woodlands ward added.
"But some residents said the dried goods distributed to them may not be suited to their dietary requirements... or preferences," she said.
Through donations from the community and sponsors, the minimart has stocked up over 3,000 items, including rice, cooking oil, oyster sauce, curry powder and toiletries since early last month.
The minimart is open every Monday evening from 7pm to 9pm, and on the last Sunday of each month, from 1pm to 3pm.
People can donate items to the store at Woodlands Community Club or their nearest residents' committee centres in Woodlands.