Agilent employees in Singapore have been stepping up to assist local charitable organizations that have experienced a dwindling number of volunteers. When COVID-19 hit last year, employee volunteers reached out to The Food Bank Singapore (Food Bank) to offer assistance.
Volunteers in the REACH program helped sort and organize food items in the warehouse and made sure they were ready for distribution. These volunteers helped sort and pack twenty batches of donated food items for delivery to Food Bank beneficiaries.
REACH volunteers took extra precautionary measures to ensure employees working in split teams were not assigned together and kept to small groups each trip. Hand sanitizer and masks were also provided to those who needed them.
“Our few hours spent sorting, cataloguing, arranging, and packing the items go a long way in helping Food Bank fulfill basic needs of the community in Singapore,” said Chow Woai Sheng, Singapore CGM and VP/GM OFS, Global IM. “Agilent Singapore volunteers have yet again displayed big courage and great kindness. I am touched by their commitment to do their part for the community, even in times of adversity.”
Jameson Chow, Operations Manager at The Food Bank Singapore, also expressed his appreciation. “Thank you very much to the Agilent volunteers for coming forward and assisting us with performing quality checks and sorting of the donations we have received, ensuring that they are ready to be packed and distributed to the beneficiaries.”
Please note: All photos taken above were before the Singapore Enhanced Circuit Breaker measures were in place, which now require wearing of masks in public.
A continuing need, a developing response
Thankfully, COVID-19 cases have declined in Singapore, but some impacted communities are still struggling to put food on the table. A 2019 study commissioned by Food Bank found that about 10% of Singaporean households experienced food insecurity at least once in 12 months. This prompted the site to extend our partnership with Food Bank and explore other ways to help these families.
In February, the site donated SGD$30,000 to Food Bank’s new automated food-aid program, The Food Pantry 2.0, that aims to install 24-hour food-vending machines in various housing estates. Beneficiaries under the program are issued a Food Bank card to redeem food items at the nearest vending machine any time of the day.
Agilent’s donation will help pay for the maintenance cost of two food-vending machines over three years and supply food items for two machines over two months.
To mark the partnership with Food Bank, a group of employee volunteers took time out from work to stock up the two vending machines. The two vending machines dispense such items as canned food, rice, noodles, biscuits, cereal, and serve over 200 beneficiaries in the Yishun neighborhood where Agilent operates.
“The pandemic has impacted communities in many ways, and this is a reminder that food security continues to be a challenge for lower income families," said Chow Woai Sheng, who was among the volunteers. "Our sponsorship will help to keep the vending machines running 24/7 and ensure long-term sustainability of the program.”
Food Bank also has expressed an urgent need for more help to replenish the current 30 vending machines placed all over Singapore, and the Agilent Singapore site is already working on a plan for employee volunteers to take on this challenge.