North West district beneficiaries get to choose care pack items to meet urgent needs and cut waste

SINGAPORE – When charities visit her home to offer care packs to the family, Madam Normahani Rohani, 31, a mother of eight children, struggles to make full use of the goods provided.

Toiletries, face masks and cleaning supplies always come in handy, but other goods like food items are often wasted as her children do not like the ones given.

“I would rather choose the vegetables myself, so they don’t get wasted,” said Madam Normahani, who put aside several job offers in the past year to devote her time to looking after her children in the two-room rental flat.

Some 1,300 needy beneficiaries in these flats were given the option to customise their care packs for the first time under the North West Community Development Council’s WeCare @ North West – Service Week held on Saturday (Dec 4).

Beneficiaries from four divisions – Limbang, Nee Soon South, Sembawang Central and Zhenghua – could select up to eight household necessities worth around $50 through an online form ahead of the distribution.

Volunteers helped to pack and deliver the care packs to the doorstep of beneficiaries.

The idea is to meet the urgent household needs of residents and minimise potential wastage that could come from providing generic packs of items, said Ms Carrie Tan, adviser to Nee Soon GRC grassroots organisation, who attended the distribution on Saturday.

From January next year, beneficiaries in 14 North West divisions will receive customised care packs.

Madam Normahani chose laundry detergent, shampoo, toilet paper and other items that she estimated would last her family two weeks.

“Some of my kids have eczema, so it is good that I can choose the shower items I need based on the ingredients so that I can safely use them,” she told The Straits Times after receiving her items on Saturday.


MP Carrie Tan (in white) with volunteers at the distribution of care packs in Nee Soon on Dec 4, 2021. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

With most of her children at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, she said it has been a challenge to provide food for them as her husband, a cleaner, is the family’s sole breadwinner.

“At least I have some savings because of the donations and I can use the money for the next few weeks. Once all the kids go to school, it will be a bit better because I can go to work again,” said Madam Normahani, whose children are between one and 12 years old.

Former sales secretary Eleana Yuan, 70, picked bathing and cleaning items, which she said can last her two months.

“These donations help me a lot with my expenses as I have retired and don’t earn money. Last time, I gave some donated items like oats, coffee and beans away as I do not use them so I usually give them to my son and his family” said Madam Yuan.

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