Hidden Hunger in a Food Secure Nation
Ranked first by the Global Food Security Index for food security, it is hard to imagine that 1 in 10 Singaporeans struggle to eat enough to be full. While causes may vary, the loss of job opportunities and income during the onslaught of the pandemic has only brought many closer to the brink of food insecurity.
This begs the question: how can we help feed our city?
Spread the Word
Like our hungry, Singapore’s poor is similarly hidden from the general public. It is easy to mistake that poverty and food insecurity doesn’t exist in affluent Singapore. With the bottom 20% of households spending more than they earn, 10%-14% of Singaporeans who fall into “first world” poverty and are unable to afford basic necessities. The elderly also show a higher proclivity to malnutrition. In 2017, 28% of Singaporeans above 55 are at risk of undernutrition due to factors like loneliness, swallowing difficulties and limited or no income to name a few.
Findings from The Hunger Report 2020 also show that food insecurity is usually independent of the likelihood of receiving food support. Of which, a large proportion of respondents indicated that they were either unaware of food support available to them or embarrassed of what people may think if it was known they received food assistance.
Sharing information about local food assistance schemes and charities does more than help raise food availability and accessibility to those who are food insecure. Promoting food security spreads awareness of food insecurity, reducing the stigma associated with it and brings attention to healthier eating options.
Give What You Can
In Singapore, a recent Straits Times article reported that DBS and the Food Bank Singapore (FBSG) are currently working on an app to match food donors to food charity organisations. Capitalising on rising food waste is not new in fighting hunger. Through its Bread Run and Market Place initiatives, Food From the Heart (FFTH) Singapore has fed over 28,000 beneficiaries by distributing “damaged” food to the needy.
We too can contribute by depositing any extra non-perishable, packaged, unopened and unexpired food (with at least a month to expiry) like rice, oil and canned food items to any of FBSG’s boxes or FFTH shops located around Singapore. You can also do your part by donating cash to feed families and the elderly through Free Food For All and FFTH, or work on volunteer projects with AIESEC.
In fact, in celebration of World Food Day, FBSG has launched a 2 day charity drive where families can drop off donations in-kind and volunteers can assist in food delivery, literally driving hunger away.