SINGAPORE – Despite having to travel all the way from Punggol where he lives, Mr Dharumalingam Sinnakannu gladly made the hour-long trip to Bedok on Sunday (Sept 29) morning to receive a gift..

He was all smiles as he collected his hamper full of groceries such as rice, oil and coffee at Bedok North’s FairPrice outlet, as part of the supermarket’s Deepavali celebrations.

“The groceries will go a long way in making my wife and children happy this Deepavali,” said the 46-year-old cargo handler who has two teenage children.

“I am a low-income person. So with these, we can prepare Deepavali food and pastries. The food in the hamper is useful.”

He was one of the 100 beneficiaries from the Singapore Indian Development Association (Sinda) who received food hampers from the supermarket’s charity arm FairPrice Foundation on Sunday, ahead of Deepavali on Oct 27.

Distributing the hampers to seven families in the morning was Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran, who said that when society combines its efforts, it can reach out to more people who are in need.

“What is distinctive about Singapore is that we are an inclusive multiracial society. Inclusive, because we look after, we care for one another. We find ways at the national level and at the community level to help those who may be in need,” he said.

“And this (initiative) is a very good example of how we can do this to complement national level programmes. It is joint effort between NTUC FairPrice representing a corporate sector and social organisation Sinda.

“Combining (efforts) mean we have a greater impact on the way we’re able to reach out to all segments of our society and make sure that needs are met.”

The rest of the families collected their food hampers throughout the day.

Previously, FairPrice also distributed goodie bags, food vouchers and cheques to various groups in need ahead of other festive celebrations such as Hari Raya.

Mr Seah Kian Peng, chief executive of FairPrice, said: “We hope this will help ease some of the financial burdens for these families and make it a little better for them when they celebrate Deepavali.”

He added: “As a social enterprise, FairPrice plays an active community role by fulfilling our social cause and helping the less fortunate.

“Over the past 46 years, FairPrice has served the community through our social mission to moderate the cost of living by ensuring daily essentials remain affordable.”

To promote greater cultural understanding between the various races, the supermarket chain has also partnered the National Heritage Board to present a roving exhibition about Deepavali and other Hindu festivities, such as Thaipusam and Holi, within the premises of its supermarkets.

The exhibition started at its Bedok North Avenue 1 outlet and will then move on to outlets in East Point Mall, Bukit Timah Plaza and JEM throughout October.