A group of locals and expatriates has been organising “hawker sessions” every four months, where people donate extra money for each dish they order and sponsored vouchers are auctioned.

“Friday nights are seen by many as nights to unwind,” said organising committee member Dawn Toh, who works at social enterprise outfit The Hub Singapore. “So why not do this at a hawker centre, where the money saved on expensive cocktails can go to something meaningful?”

About 100 diners attended the third and latest session at Tiong Bahru Food Centre late last month. The numbers are still being tallied but over $7,600 has been raised – more than double the target of about $3,100.

Previous events were held at Zion Riverside Food Centre in December and at Kampung @ Simpang Bedok in April. Each session aims to help those under Tan Tock Seng Hospital’s Helping Elderly Patients (Help) programme.

The latest session raised money for two patients in their 70s, whose identities are not publicised. Half of the target amount will go towards buying a hearing aid for “Mr C”. The other half will be spent on oral supplements and wound dressings for “Madam M”. Remaining proceeds will go to other patients in the Help scheme.

The eight organisers, three of whom are Singaporeans, met last October at The Feast Worldwide Singapore, where participants brainstormed solutions to societal issues over dinner.

Said team member Solonia Teodros, an American social entrepreneur who has lived here for 12 years: “The sessions also help to bring the local and expat communities together. For those of us who have lived here a long time, this is something we hold close to our hearts.”

Visit www.facebook.com/The HawkerSessions for information.


This article was first run in The Straits Times newspaper on September 9, 2013. For similar stories, go to sph.straitstimes.com/premium/singapore. You will not be able to access the Premium section of The Straits Times website unless you are already a subscriber.