Student voice 16 Apr 2020

Tackling food insecurity

By Sheetal J, grade 11
Photograph by Sheetal J, grade 11

Grade 11 students created a Food Bank Committee to raise awareness on the issue of “food insecurity” -  not knowing where your next meal comes from. Here Sheetal J tells us of their work with the Singapore charity The Food Bank Organization.

“It’s lunchtime. You run down to the canteen, the long classes have left you starving, and you wait in line for your favourite chicken wrap. As usual, it comes with a generous helping of salad and chips. You walk over to your table and merrily chat away with your friends as you eat a delicious meal. As lunch nears its end, everyone starts to clear up, and you throw away your salad and chips; you didn’t have enough time to finish, no biggie. 

This is the reality for many of us. What we don’t realise is that for many people in Singapore, a meal like ours would be an unattainable luxury. Food insecurity - not knowing where your next meal comes from, having to skip a few, or even going hungry - is a prominent issue even in Singapore’s food paradise. It affects a diverse variety of people, from large families with low incomes to senior citizens. 

Some 4.1% of Singaporeans experience food insecurity to a severe extent, according to the United Nations 2019 report

The Food Bank Organization in Singapore is one of many that have taken on the challenge to eradicate food insecurity. They receive donations of surplus foods (safe to consume) from packaged food retailers, distributors and manufacturers. Through this process, not only do they support Singapore’s overlooked food-insecure population but also raise awareness of their situation.” 

Raising awareness within the CIS community
Sheetal says: “I am working with Anusha S, another grade 11 student, to introduce our school community to Food Bank’s noble and pertinent cause. We have created a Food Bank Committee that will focus on the ‘raising awareness’ aspect of our CAS project. Before that, several trips to Food Bank’s warehouse were initiated by our teacher Ms Melissa Sit, where CIS students volunteered to help organize Food Bank’s large reserves for donations. The plan moving forward is to fundraise for a food donation box to be set up in school so that students can contribute towards this worthwhile cause. 

We are thankful to have the guidance and assistance of Ms Sit, who originally introduced the monthly volunteer sessions at Food Bank.”

Changing daily habits to make a difference
“While working closely with Food Bank, we have become more conscious about our attitude towards food and nutrition, and are learning not to take it for granted. Some easy habits to implement in your daily life include controlling your food portions whenever possible and pre-planning meals at home to ensure minimum wastage. Packaged foods that you do not intend to use, and are still safe to consume, can be donated to organizations such as Food Bank. These are habits that we actively try to implement, and also hope to introduce to our school community, by sharing Food Bank’s mission and our CAS project. 

Look out for our fundraisers and food donation box, so that you too can contribute towards the issue of food insecurity in Singapore, through Food Bank!”