Tough times don’t last because kind people help each other sail through. Every difficult time comes with an opportunity to show our benevolent face. Enterprising people come together to hold the hands of the needy. One such initiative is Belanja Eat. This is an initiative to offer free meals to the really needy as well as support local hawkers. This double community benefit is possible with support and contribution from Singaporeans. Got a little extra to gift someone a meal?
How Does Belanja Eat work?
Belanja Eat works on goodwill and honour. The local hawkers, who are operating, will offer free meals to whoever asks for it. They will not demand any reasons or justifications from the beneficiaries. These meals will have been donated by patrons like you.
There are many self-respecting people who have suddenly fallen to bad financial situations. They may have lost a job recently or going through serious medical needs. These are the people who may benefit from a free meal but will never beg for one. Gauging their needs sensitively and helping them without hurting their self-esteem, is a hard job. They can always be encouraged to pay it forward.
Many food outlets are part of this initiative offering vegetarian, halal and non-halal meals. Each of these participating stalls has a poster of ‘Belanja Eat’ put up in the front. There are circles marked on the poster within boxes showing how many prepaid meals are available for donation. Every free meal that is given away is ticked against a circle. This gives a clear idea of how many free meals are still existing.
Anyone who needs a free meal on offer from any of the participating stalls, for themselves or someone else, will need to approach the stall. They can look at the poster to check the availability of meals, ask for it and tick against a circle. No questions will be asked, and no judgement made.
How Would Belanja Eat Support Local Hawkers?
The ingenuity of Belanja Eat is that, as part of the free meal system, the stalls will continue to run. If the stalls do not close down, they will be doing some business.
The patrons will remember and appreciate the initiative and may show loyalty when normalcy is restored. Also, the citizens who want to sponsor get to know about the participating stalls. They may become new patrons for the food stalls.
There are many vegetarian stalls such as – nomVnom, Kang Su, Su Yuan Xuan, Ruyi Yuan, San Ho Gourmet, Yu Xin and all the Daily Green outlets – who are participating in this endeavour.
Other Local Initiatives
The hawkers and local stores are coming together through various other organised groups such as Hawkers United – Dabao 2020. Pasar United – Dabao 2020 is a FaceBook group for fresh produce retailers. Many more initiatives are coming up.
Thinking of treating a friend? Buy gift vouchers now, to help the economy, and use the voucher later. You may purchase a meal from a gourmet restaurant to be delivered at the address you provide. Other than ordering-in from fine-dine restaurants, you may purchase a discounted meal voucher for a high-end restaurant and use it at a later date.
Not forgetting the local bars, many bars are providing takeaway cocktails. These are aimed at keeping bar operators afloat during these times.
Other things you can do is go to the centralised page of SG United and look for the initiatives you can support. Also, whether you contribute or not, you can always spread a word around about Belanja Eat and other initiatives, and thus support local hawkers.
As part of our efforts to help the community—businesses and the public alike—to tide through this extraordinary time we’re facing, we have partnered with Tripadvisor in their advocacy campaign #LoveYourLocalSG. It’s a call to action for all of us to proactively support local businesses. Learn more about this initiative and how you can support at www.loveyourlocal.sg.
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