Some displayed finesse while confidently wielding their kitchen knives with ease. Others eyed the lighted stoves nervously, as it was their first attempt at cooking. On this very special Children’s Day, over 100 children beneficiaries from Singapore’s five Community Development Councils (CDCs) were at a food-themed party to launch CapitaLand Hope Foundation’s Kids’ Food Fund 2013.
According to a 2009 UNICEF report, 180 million children worldwide suffer from growth retardation due to malnutrition. It was to help these underprivileged children that Kids’ Food Fund first started in 2010 in conjunction with United Nation’s World Food Day. This year, for the first time, CapitaLand Hope Foundation (CHF) is partnering the five CDCs by donating S$500,000 to provide food security and nutritious meals to 1,000 underprivileged children in Singapore.
Said Chairman, CapitaLand Hope Foundation, Mr S R Nathan, “CHF’s Kids’ Food Fund Programme has benefitted more than 23,000 children in Asia since 2010. To date, the Foundation has donated close to S$1 million towards enhancing the nutritional well-being of underprivileged children. Nutrition is key to a child’s development, so it is important to encourage children to eat better and grow healthily to have a better headstart in life.”
Stirring Up a Storm in the Kitchen
Eating healthily is an issue with several of the children beneficiaries like 10-year-old Y Anushika. When not in the care of the student centre she goes to after school, she would eat snacks and sweets instead of proper meals.
Some children, like 10-year-old Muhammad Ariffin bin Azman, have no one to prepare healthy meals for them at home. His father was diagnosed with cancer and his mother has to take care of his baby sister who was born with complications this May. So he is the designated chef at home.
The highlight of the party was the Kids’ Food Fund Junior Chef Cooking Competition with CapitaLand staff volunteers to teach the children to cook and eat healthily. Eight teams of three children took part in the healthy cooking contest where they had to prepare a two-course meal created by the volunteers that was simple to make, yummy to eat and good for the body.
“The recipe I came up with is something I have been cooking since I was in Primary Three,” said Fiona Chua, Senior Manager, Project Design, Development and Management, CapitaMalls Asia whose menu included Rainbow Chicken Soup with Tofu Rice; and Pancakes with Apple Sauce.
“I wanted something easy enough for the children to prepare, with ingredients that can be readily available in their homes.”
In fact, easy preparation was a big consideration for many of the volunteers.
“I chose to bake the chicken because it allows you to pop the food in the oven and continue to do something else. This way, the children can have time for their studies and still have a healthy meal,” said Jeffrey Lun, Vice President, Project Management, CapitaLand Singapore who prepared Roasted Chicken with Vegetables; and Fruit Salad.
Others wanted to show children that healthy foods can be delicious as well.
“Fish is healthy and I decided to add vegetables and potatoes to the dish to show them a fun way to eat vegetables,” said Lorraine Lim, Operations Executive, CapitaMalls Asia whose main course of Fish with Lemon Butter Sauce comes with boiled potatoes, carrots and peas on the side.
The panel of judges awarded medals for the healthiest, most creative, yummiest and most cost-effective menus. A special award – Junior Master Chef - was also given to 11-year-old Cheryl Yap for displaying outstanding culinary skills in the kitchen.
“We usually have to eat out. But now, I can teach my mom how to prepare healthy meals quickly. I also learnt how to decorate the food,” she said.
Her team presented the creation complete with palm trees made of carrots, green peppers and potatoes; and ketchup artwork.
Fuelling Big Dreams
At the end of the day, Mr Nathan presented the S$500,000-cheque to Dr Amy Khor, Mayor of South West District; Mr Teo Ser Luck, Mayor of North East District; Dr Teo Ho Pin, Mayor of North West District; Mr Sam Tan, Mayor of Central Singapore District; and Mr Seah Kian Peng, Vice-Chairman of South East CDC. Also there to witness the event were Mr Lim Ming Yan, Director, CHF and President & Group CEO, CapitaLand Limited; and Mr James Koh, Director, CHF.
The money will benefit children like 10-year-old Felicia Aw and ensure they have at least one healthy, well-balanced meal per school day. Felicia’s father recently suffered a stroke. But the little girl has hopes of a better future. She wants to be a lawyer when she grows up.
“I will teach my little sister how to prepare the dishes I learnt today so she can prepare healthy meals for the family, too,” said Felicia.
Creating Hope in a Kitchen
In China, Ascott China started the “Happy Kitchen” project to help improve the nutrition of 1,000 students across the 24 CapitaLand Hope Schools in China. The community outreach programme is a partnership with CapitaLand Hope Foundation (China) (CHFC) as the charity sponsor and China Youth Development Foundation (CYDF) as the charity partner.
From 1 September to 31 October 2013, residents, partners and staff in all Ascott-China operated serviced residences in China raised funds. CHFC also matched the amount raised dollar for dollar. The money will be used to renovate the kitchens in the CapitaLand Hope Schools and buy the necessary equipment to prepare nutritious meals. Volunteers will also share knowledge of nutrition and healthy diets with the teachers and students.
With so much effort and attention devoted to these children, there will surely be happy, healthy meals ahead for them.