8-year-old Qairunnisa Bte Jumar comes from a single parent family and her mother sometimes struggles with putting food on the table for her daughter. However, with the help of Kids’ Food Fund, Qairunnisa can now get hot nutritious meals after school at the HIS Connection Student Care Centre.
Kids’ Food Fund is food security programme where CapitaLand and People’s Association (PA) partner five CDCs (Community Development Council) to provide 1,200 children beneficiaries island-wide with at least one healthy and balanced meal each school day with the help of CapitaLand Hope Foundation’s (CHF) donations.
“To date, the Foundation has donated over S$24 million to support programmes for the education, healthcare and shelter needs of underprivileged children,” said Mr S R Nathan, Chairman, CapitaLand Hope Foundation, highlighting the foundation’s unwavering commitment to this programme.
Mr Lim Ming Yan, President & Group CEO, CapitaLand Limited, and Director, CapitaLand Hope Foundation, reminded everyone of this shared belief in volunteerism. “CapitaLand has been a keen advocate of volunteerism. Given our credo ‘Building People. Building Communities.’, we remain rooted in our belief that volunteering makes a difference, to both beneficiaries and volunteers,” said Mr Lim.
To mark the renewal of CapitaLand’s partnership with PA for Kids’ Food Fund, a one-day event, P.E.E.K (Providing Educational Exposure for Kids) @ Kids’ Food Fund food and nutrition trail, was organised for kids like Qairunnisa to learn more about nutritious food in a fun and interactive way.
Some 50 CapitaLand staff took Volunteer Service Leave to host these children and accompany them on a fun-filled food and nutrition trail at Westgate in Singapore. They were also joined by 21 of the volunteers’ own children. Through interactive gaming, sandwich-making and other unique food-themed activities across six pit stops, the children learned about food nutrition in a fun and engaging manner.
Food for Thought
Eating well was certainly the focus for the event. For staff volunteer, Therese Lee, Senior Manager, Design Manager (Architecture) of CapitaMalls Asia, this was an issue close to her heart. “I have two children at home and I’m concerned about what they eat. By volunteering, I get to work with children as well as learn something about food nutrition.”
Staff volunteer Stanie Lim was back again for the third time as he thought this event was a great way to help underprivileged children learn about food nutrition. This time round, he even brought his 10-year-old daughter Katriel to take part in the food and nutrition trail. “I want to expose her to the benefits of volunteerism as well as the importance of food and nutrition,” said Lim, Senior Manager, The Ascott Centre for Excellence.
Many other staff members also brought their children along to this event for similar reasons. “It’s good for her to learn about healthy food while having fun and it helps that every station is exciting and different,” said Serene Lim, Senior Human Resource Executive, CapitaLand Singapore, with her 10-year-old daughter, Cara.
Learning about Food is Fun!
Every child had his or her own personal favourite game station in the trail. For Qairunnisa, it was the fishing pit stop, where she learned about the difference between healthy and unhealthy foods. She also loved the sandwich-making station, where children learned the components of a balanced diet while making their own sandwiches. “I added cheese and chicken to my sandwich,” she proclaimed proudly as she further expressed how eager she was to make healthy sandwiches for her friends and family in future.
Another highlight of the trail was the City Patrol computer game designed specially by Nanyang Technological University (NTU) students for this event. The premise of the game was simple. An influx of bad foods has entered a once healthy town, creating trouble for the townsfolk. Players take on the role of heroes to destroy the sources of fats and sugar that do not fit in with the town’s healthy culture by solving fun in-game puzzles.
For ten-year-old Goh Yan Jun, this was definitely his favourite station of the day. “I really liked City Patrol as it was fun and I got to learn more things about food”, he said as he went on to help his partner after finishing his turn.
“I think it’s a great idea to include a computer game, especially for boys who like action. It’s a good way to get them to learn about healthy eating while having fun,” added his mum Goh Lay Ming.
This is the second year running for CapitaLand Kids’ Food Fund. Through this project, more school children from less privileged households receive nutritious meals every school day. To date, CHF has donated close to S$1.5 million towards enhancing the nutritional well-being of underprivileged children. The results were heartening - at the beginning of 2014, over 400 children beneficiaries were underweight and by the end of the programme 67% of them registered an improved BMI while 17% achieved an acceptable BMI range.
To mark its 10th anniversary, CHF committed at least S$1 million to celebrate volunteerism this year with the launch of its #100KHopeHours challenge at the event. CHF targets to garner 100,000 volunteer hours globally through this challenge, where every volunteer hour clocked will raise a S$10 donation to help underprivileged children in Asia in the areas of education, healthcare and shelter. Through #100KHopeHours, CHF seeks to rally the public to volunteer their time and effort for charity, highlighting the message that everyone can contribute in different ways to benefit the community.
As the day came to a close, the smiles on the children’s faces lingered as they tucked into their balanced and nutritious bento sets. With CHF’s latest commitment and the clear dedication from staff volunteers, the children beneficiaries can certainly look forward to happier and healthier meals ahead.