While the National Environment Agency (NEA) is offering rental waivers and subsidies to hawkers, these hawkers still rely on customer orders.
A Singaporean family went the extra mile by buying food and drinks from Amoy Street Food Centre during lunchtime to support the struggling hawkers.
They ended up buying 20 servings worth of food and drinks that they subsequently donated to residents of a halfway house to help those in need of a meal.
Business reduced at least 50 per cent
One Kate Yeo shared her family’s recent experience at Amoy Street Food Centre during lunchtime on May 24 in a Facebook post.
Yeo and her parents visited the food centre, which “looked quite crowded” to her.
However, she learnt from some of the hawkers that this was half the usual footfall, and business has decreased at least 50 per cent for most of them.
She believed that the drinks stall was hit the hardest as the woman who was manning Ah Seng Coffee lamented about the lack of business.
Besides buying food for just themselves, Yeo’s family wanted to do more to help these hawkers out.
They purchased food and drinks that were enough to feed 20 people and dropped the food off at a halfway house for the residents to eat.
In response to queries by Mothership, Yeo shared that the response at the halfway house was “really great” and the food “was all taken up quickly”.
Yeo felt that what they did was “not much” and plans to continue this “small initiative” daily for as long as she can by visiting a different hawker centre each day.
This afternoon (May 25), she dropped by Hong Lim Food Centre with her parents to do the same.
How it started
Speaking to Mothership, Yeo said she was inspired by the Instagram account @wheretodapao that spotlights elderly hawkers who are struggling to stay in business due to their unfamiliarity with digital delivery platform.
As she has been on a plant-based diet for about five years, she wanted to do something similar that is specific to vegetarian stalls, particularly those that are run by the elderly hawkers who do not have a presence on social media or delivery platforms.
Yeo runs a sustainability initiative to reduce single-use plastic items called BYO Bottle SG and she decided to include drinks stalls after hearing that their partner stalls have been impacted greatly by the new measures.
Cannot afford delivery commission fees
She listed the stalls that she had supported on May 24 and urged others to support them too.
- Soon Lee Vegetarian #01-09
- 33 Bean & Juices #01-33
- B Salad Kitchen #01-37
- Healthy Vegetarian #01-44
- Ah Seng (Hai Nam) Coffee #02-95
According to Yeo, none of these hawkers offer food delivery, as they are unable to afford the commission fees.
Complimentary bak zhang
In a separate post published on the same day, Yeo shared her experience at Healthy Vegetarian #01-44 where she bought Tom Yum Fried Rice and received three homemade bak zhang for free.
Yeo added that she is currently sharing the stalls that she has visited on SG Vegan Kakis Telegram channel, the Vegetarian Society (Singapore) Facebook group, the Hawkers United Facebook group, and her Instagram account.
Free meals for those in need
Yeo is also trying to come up with a list of people who would appreciate a free meal, such as food delivery riders and community organisations, to receive the food and avoid waste.
Other suggestions include healthcare employees and Ling Kwan Home in Serangoon Gardens as a possible beneficiary.
Yeo said she is exploring the idea of redistributing food to delivery riders and healthcare workers but is still unsure of how to coordinate it.
Top images by Karen Lui and Kate Yeo.