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Dignity Kitchen aims to raise S$200k after fire; grateful for support

After a February fire, Dignity Kitchen seeks S$200,000 for refurbishment. Founder Koh Seng Choon appreciates support, ensures meal provision for the needy continues amidst challenges.



SINGAPORE: Social enterprise foodcourt Dignity Kitchen aims to collect S$200,000 (approximately US$150,000) to refurbish its premises following a fire incident.

The damage occurred on 13 February, affecting the organization’s facility located at 69 Boon Keng Road in Singapore.

As of Monday (18 March) evening, approximately S$128,554 has been contributed by 1,111 individuals through the crowdfunding platform Give Asia.

The fire, originating from a nearby rubbish collection centre, destroyed the wall, roof, electrical appliances, and air-conditioning units of the 10,600 sq ft premises.

The police have classified the incident as “mischief by fire.”

Crowdfunding on GiveAsia

Dignity Kitchen operates under Project Dignity, a social enterprise established in 2010 to provide employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

Its Singapore branch includes a fully operational hawker centre accessible to the public, a culinary training facility, community outreach initiatives, and second-hand book stalls.

On its fundraising page, it was articulated that the anticipated expenses are expected to exceed S$200,000, primarily attributable to factors such as business revenue loss, temporary closure of the food court, rescheduling or cancellation of special needs classes, and other disruptions to normal business operations.

“The funds raised will go towards our operational costs like the salaries of our special needs staff, the loss in business affecting our revenue, to the free meals we give to the residents around the area and to continue our social mission to the community,” it wrote.

Although the food court managed to resume operations the day after the fire on 14 February, utilizing the unaffected side of the building, the training centre, primarily affected by the fire, remains closed.

The closure impacts training programs for participants from the National Silver Academy, which provides learning opportunities for Singaporeans aged 50 and above, as well as for 10 individuals with special needs, Project Dignity assistant general manager Christopher Koh said to The Straits Times (ST).

In a video update dated 14 March, the founder of Project Dignity, Koh Seng Choon, expressed gratitude for the support and contributions received following the fire incident.

In the video, Mr Koh showcased the extensive damage caused by the fire to both the exterior and interior of the building.

He particularly emphasized concern over a crack on the upper level floor’s wall, extending across the room.

He indicated that the training centre bore the brunt of the damage. According to him, the estimated cost for repairing the exterior walls, replacing air-conditioning units, and fixing the roof was approximately S$130,000, as reported to ST.

However, the complete extent of the damage cannot be determined until the roof is dismantled. Additionally, Mr Koh mentioned that it would take some time for the insurance company to evaluate and process the claim.

Previously, he had sought immediate rewiring and acquired a portable air-conditioner to recommence training sessions. However, classes will have to be halted once more for several weeks during the restoration endeavour.

An update from the video stated that as at 14 March, they have managed to install the aircons only.

Mr Koh also acknowledged that the overall revenue loss remains unspecified.

Despite the cessation of training classes, he highlighted that the food court operations continue uninterrupted.

“…our training has stopped, luckily the operation still goes on. Our meal boxes for the people working here, the working poor still goes on. Our food that we deliver to the nursing home still goes on,” he said.

Heartfelt testimonials and encouraging words from supporters

Many have provided testimonials on the organization’s fundraising page on GiveAsia, offering words of encouragement and support.

Visitors to the food court have also shared their experiences and offered words of encouragement.

For instance, one individual who has visited Dignity Kitchen expressed appreciation for its inclusive environment for people with special needs and expressed hope for prompt restoration work so they can visit again.

Similarly, another patron, who frequents the food court near their office, praised both the quality of the food and the dedication of the staff, urging others to support the cause.

“As Dignity Kitchen is near my office, I often lunch there as not only the food is great and priced reasonably, the staff is passionate in their work to give their best! So let’s support them ya!!” he wrote.

Another contributor shared gratitude for the organization’s assistance in helping their family member with special needs secure employment, motivating them to donate during this time of need.

Furthermore, a user who previously collaborated with the organization commended their genuine efforts and expressed hope that every contribution, no matter how small, would aid in their swift recovery.

“Have worked with them before and really great and genuine people there. Hope every small amount can help you get back in feet quickly,” the user said.

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why use Gaza to build tunnels for terrorists? ask yourselves Palestinians.

Why No Insurance To Cover????

So much dignity but offended who ah?…to have some one do a mischief act on him!
Obviously employed cheap and low ses labor loh!😆😆😆🤣🤣

They should have insurance coverage.