Singapore charity Free Food for All is not only on a mission to eradicate hunger around the world, it also wants food for its beneficiaries to taste delicious
One of the greatest pleasures of eating comes from savouring the varied flavours, textures and aromas of a meal. It is an experience Singapore charity Free Food for All (FFFA) believes should be accessible to everyone, including the needy and underprivileged.
This is why the organisation has pioneered halal ready-to-eat (RTE) meals that come in a retort packaging with flameless heat packs.
This allows food to be reheated without needing a microwave oven, stove or heat source.
Developed in partnership with a manufacturer in Brunei, the high-tech RTE meals include culturally-relevant dishes, such as boneless chicken cooked with Khabsaa spice-infused rice, which have a two-year shelf life and a high nutritional value. This makes the meals, which include vegetarian options, suitable for those who are facing the most critical humanitarian crises such as starvation and acute malnutrition.
“People in need should not have to settle for tasteless and bland food, instead they should be provided with tasty and nutritional meals to support their lack of quality of life,” says FFFA founder Nizar Mohamed Shariff.
A former entrepreneur and shipping professional, Nizar felt a calling to give back to society. In 2014, when he noticed that there was no existing charity that provided halal food regularly to the less fortunate, he founded FFFA with his own savings to meet this need.
Since then, FFFA has served over 500,000 meals and participated in initiatives to minimise food waste and programmes to manufacture healthier meals. In 2018, it set up soup kitchens in places such as the earthquake-affected areas in Lombok and Sulawesi in Indonesia to provide locals with hot food.
With a passion to help even more people beyond Singapore, Nizar also founded Food for Change Singapore (FFC Sg), a global humanitarian aid organisation that aims to extend support and aid to the less fortunate and often-overlooked groups of people around the world. The organisation has since successfully launched a food distribution project to help Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh as well as support humanitarian aid projects in Gaza, Syria and Yemen.
More than food assistance organisations, FFFA and FFC Sg also provide holistic psychosocial support to local and global communities as well. For instance, during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic when other charities faced a steep dip in contributions, FFFA continued to reach out to people who were in dire need of not just food but also social support. “Our goal is to feed the body, while nourishing the mind and soul,” says Nizar.
In the first half of 2020, FFFA worked with Temasek Foundation to distribute more than 200,000 RTE meals to households in need. It also participates in initiatives such as Migrant Workers Day, Kids Luv It and Gift a Meal to reach out to the less privileged and rough sleepers.
Overseas, FFC Sg has helped to build water desalination plants in Gaza to allow families access to clean drinking water, and contributes to providing basic necessities and shelter for refugees. Its aid projects have been successfully carried out in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Gaza, Syria, Lebanon and Ghana.
A recipient of the People of Good award at the President’s Volunteerism & Philanthropy Awards 2020, Nizar also places a strong emphasis on educating Singaporeans and the younger generation. He firmly believes that every individual has the power to play a role in helping others. “In Singapore, we are lucky to have access to necessities despite hard times. It is important to have awareness and empathy to people who are much less fortunate in other parts of the globe.”
To help make a difference to the lives of the underprivileged, contact Nizar Mohamed Shariff on 9656 7280 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Free Food for All 21 Chai Chee Rd, 01-430, freefood.org.sg
Food for Change SG ready2eat.sg