Community fridges are starting to pop up in different neighbourhoods around Singapore, and they are a great way to ensure that needy residents don’t go hungry.
A while ago, we wrote about a community fridge that was set up under a block in Yishun, which was launched on 11 January 2020.
It is organised by Free Food For All and Chong Pang CC, but those who actually monitor the fridge, re-stock items and distribute food to the needy are volunteers who live in the area itself.
And one of them would be 46-year-old Rimah.
Single Mother Who Knows What It Feels Like To Be Needy
Rahimah Rahim, or Rimah, is a single mother who spends over 30 hours a week volunteering to feed the needy. She wants to do everything that she can to ensure that her neighbours don’t go hungry.
She stays in a rental flat in Yishun, and she started an initiative back in 2018 to donate food as well as other essential items to low-income families, by starting a block chat group on WhatsApp.
The chat group includes most residents of that block, and they use it to support one another during difficult times.
They donate and share food, and also organise food rationing for needy residents.
Rimah started this initiative because she knows exactly how it feels like to be going through a tough time and not having enough food to survive on.
She was in that position herself not too long ago, when she was single-handedly raising her son after her divorce and was struggling to make ends meet.
“I used to stay in JB for many years before I moved back to Singapore,” she explained in a video interview with CNA Insider. “So that was after my divorce and I was alone with my son.”
“There was one period [where] we didn’t have enough food, but we were too shy to ask my parents. So I can really understand why these needy people, they really need food.”
Community Fridge For Needy Residents
Being able to empathize with them made Rimah more motivated to ensure that her neighbours don’t ever go hungry, regardless of what their financial situation may be like.
The community fridge under her block helps to achieve this, as it is always piled with food items for needy residents to take.
However, running such an initiative is not easy as we all know how some Singaporeans can be the moment they see free items.
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Someone needs to ensure that residents use the fridge responsibly and don’t grab all the food for themselves, and that’s where Rimah comes in.
She acts as the “discipline mistress” of the fridge and makes sure that rations are distributed fairly among residents.
When aggressive residents take too much food for themselves, she tries to stay calm and explain to them that other people need the food that is placed in the fridge as well.
Community Spirit In The Block
Just like Rimah, there are also other community mothers in the block who play their part to look out for their neighbours.
The community network was started by an ex-resident, Diljan Shaik Arif Ali, also known as “Mummy Jan”.
“Some of these senior citizens, they stay by themselves,” she said. “I’ve seen a lot who passed away alone at home.”
Another community mother, Salmah Rahman, often offers her own cooked food to her needy neighbours on top of the donated items given by groups like Beyond Social Services.
All of them work together to take care of the elderly residents in their block and ensure that they are always provided with all the food that they need.
This community spirit is more prominent in older flats and older neighbourhoods in Singapore, but that does not mean that only those who live there can play their part in helping the needy.
In fact, there are around 125 food support organisations and charities in Singapore that help those who are in need of food, and you can contribute to the community by donating to them.
You can watch the full interview below:
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