On Nov 10 and 11, I, Second Harvest Asia (2HA) Executive Director Yusuke Wada, visited Food from the Heart (FFTH), a food bank in Singapore with Second Harvest Japan (2HJ) Executive Director Charles McJilton. This visit was part of 2HA’s efforts to create a food bank network in Asia. We thank FFTH for showing their facilities and operations! FFTH’s experiences and knowledge will be a big help for our future network.
In this five million population country, as income disparity has been expanding, the needs for social services have been increasing.
FFTH utilizes 1,700 volunteers to pick up breads and pastries from 100 bakeries and deliver them to 150 group homes in the country every day. In addition to this, they distribute goody bags that contains supplementary food such as rice, oil, and canned goods, to low-income families by reaching 3,400 students at 16 schools.
Food stored at FFTH’s warehouse.
When we visited the warehouse, a corporate group was volunteering to make food bags.
What was impressive to us was their computerized system for food-donation management, which manages all the bread pickups and deliveries by volunteers. Volunteers text the data about the donations by their mobile phones, and the central server manages all the data. This is a very advanced management system and was made possible with the cooperation of Fujitsu Asia. This tech savviness is an important part of FFTH’s operations, and I believe food banks in other countries can learn from this practice.
On Nov 11, we visited FFTH’s annual event, Toy Buffet 2011. This event was to offer an opportunity to children from low-income families to receive two toys of their choice donated by local supporters. The event was successful, we were able to see FFTH’s strong relationships with local businesses and schools.
Second Harvest Asia will develop the regional food bank network in Asia to share best practices and experiences with other food banks. We hold online meetings regularly with Asian food bank members. If you are interested in joining our regional network, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.