Dining In 2 minutes 27 February 2018

How to Donate Your Excess Chinese New Year Goodies

Bought too many festive foods? Lighten your load and do a good deed by donating to those in need.

Chinese New Year is coming to an end and you may be grappling with what to do with untouched festive goodies, from bottles of pineapple tarts and cookies to mandarin oranges that were bought in the heat of the festivities. Instead of dumping them into garbage bins, here’s a more socially-conscious move: donate them to those in need.

There are a handful of non-profit organisations in Singapore which collect food items and distribute them to low-income families, the elderly and underprivileged youths.

Donating excess food is also nifty way to curb food wastage in Singapore, which is a mounting problem. According to the Republic's Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, the amount of food waste generation was 810 million kg in 2017 — equivalent to the weight of 55,000 double-decker buses. 

Food waste accounted for about half of the waste disposed of by each Singapore household a day. Of this, more than half of the food waste could have been prevented through actions such as not over-ordering, over-buying or over-cooking.

Round up the extra bottles of goodies and donate them at these places to pay it forward.

1. Food Bank Singapore

This six-year-old charity, which collects surplus safe-to-eat food from the food and beverage industry and the public and distributes them to people in need of food, is on the look-out for Chinese New Year goodies. Some of the most common items include corporate festive hampers and assorted festive goodies. Food is sorted and stored in Food Bank’s warehouse and distributed and delivered to aid agencies like family service centres that help the elderly and young families.

In 2017, the donation drive for Chinese New Year goodies saw about 2,000 bottles collected. Ms Nichol Ng, chief food officer of The Food Bank Singapore, says: “The number of Chinese New Year goodies collected has been decreasing.” Besides Chinese New Year, Food Bank Singapore also collects food from major festivals including mooncakes from Mid-Autumn festivals, Hari Raya and Christmas treats.

What it accepts: Any excess Chinese New Year food items that range from cookies, beverages, snacks and Mandarin oranges, to dried goods. The food must be in good condition (not crumbled, consumed or have gone soft), have one or two weeks before their expiry dates and its packaging is kept intact.

How to donate: Drop off donations at these 17 bank boxes that are island-wide, the Food Pantry at 100 Sims Avenue or the Food Bank Warehouse at 39 Keppel Road.

2. Food From The Heart

This non-profit organisation is one of the leading charitable food distributors that started out distributing surplus food from bakeries 16 years ago. These days, Food From The Heart has extended to distributing food packs that include canned food, rice, oil, fruits, vegetables and toys. The charity runs six community programmes that reach out to more than 35,500 needy individuals annually.

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The donated Chinese New Year goodies are delivered to 50 self collection centres islandwide as a festive addition to weekly food rations that are distributed to the needy and to welfare homes. Besides festival-related goodies, Food From The Heart also holds festive and birthday parties for beneficiaries.

What it accepts: Items must be unopened, unused and with four weeks of shelf life left. All sorts of foods are accepted, from bak kwa, love letters and pork floss to mandarin oranges and pineapple tarts, which help to spread festive cheer to beneficiaries. Food From The Heart also receives mass corporate donations.

How to donate: Drop off donations at the Food From The Heart warehouse at 130 Joo Seng Road, 03-01, on Mondays to Fridays 10am – 5pm. 

Other places that accept food donations include Fei Yue Community ServicesLions Home For The Elders and Itsrainingraincoats, which collects Chinese New Year goodies and distributes them to migrant workers. Visit their websites to check their wish lists for in-kind donations. 

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