DBS Stronger Together Fund
At the height of the pandemic, DBS through the DBS Stronger Together fund committed SGD 10.5 million to provide more than 4.5 million meals, care packs and medical supplies across our core markets. Working together with our local community partners, we also rallied our employees and clients for contributions to meet the needs of hard-hit communities across our key markets. The donations of our clients and employees in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, India and Indonesia were also matched dollar-for-dollar by the bank
The pandemic exacerbated the need for food and daily essentials among hard-hit communities in Singapore. Together with our employees and customers, and matched donation from the bank, over SGD 3.5 million were raised to distribute more than 750,000 meals to the elderly, low-income and migrant worker communities, through our partners The Food Bank Singapore and ItsRainingRaincoats. Through this initiative, we have funded 33 of our F&B clients – as part of our support for this sector – to provide 200,000 meals for the elderly and low income communities.
Said Ms Nichol Ng, co-founder of The Food Bank Singapore, “The Covid-19 situation has largely affected our ability to reach out to the beneficiaries as we are running low on food and funds. As their level of food supply has dropped, we have also noted more requests from beneficiaries as they are unable to put food on the table during these uncertain times. Through DBS’ support, we can continue to run our ‘Feed the City’ programme, and to meet the basic needs of those affected.”
Said Dipa Swaminathan, founder of ItsRainingRaincoats, “There are close to 750,000 migrant workers in Singapore and only a fraction of those are in the gazetted dorms. Many workers who are lodged elsewhere continue to need assistance with food during this time for various reasons ... Our team of volunteers has been working around the clock to support any such worker who appeals to us in hunger through Project Belanja. We are hugely fortified in this battle now with the added support of DBS and confident that together we will help our workers and in doing so, help our entire community overcome this crisis.”
DBS and Lions Befrienders also joined hands to roll out Singapore’s largest ever virtual befriending volunteer initiative with 1,900 employees engaging 1,300 senior beneficiaries in 2020 through virtual conversations, simple home gardening projects, as well as online exercises and games. This initiative, coupled with our sponsorship of 40 tablets across Lion Befrienders centres, paved the way for the future of volunteerism by allowing seniors to remain connected to the community despite the need for social distancing during the pandemic.
How we impacted lives together
A community coming together
More than ever, we need to shelter each other through the storm
“The assistance has been very helpful for our family of seven, as it helps lower our expenses during this time. Thank you!” – Mdm Tay, a beneficiary of Feed the City – DBS Edition
“Thank you for the support during such challenging times.” – Sudha, a beneficiary of Feed the City – DBS Edition
“The food is nice and the portion is generous! My kids love it and appreciate it!” – Siti, a beneficiary of Feed the City – DBS Edition
“We feel spoilt by the sumptuous meals prepared! The food is very nice! Thank you so much for the effort!” – Mdm Ong, a beneficiary of Feed the City – DBS Edition
“It is more stressful during these circuit breaker times. We cannot go to buy things or work. We’re very happy to have help such as meals and snacks. … Everyday we’re talking to the family, (telling them) not to worry.” - Manickam Manickaselvam, a beneficiary of Project Belanja – DBS Edition
“We were very worried when the circuit breaker measures started. ... Now we don’t have to worry about our meals and other necessities.” - Billal Khan, a beneficiary of Project Belanja – DBS Edition
“I feel grateful that my wife and I don’t have to go outside to get food.” – Mr Yee, an elderly beneficiary of Feed the City – DBS Edition
To help the elderly and at-risk groups, including low-income families, we worked with local charities Senior Citizen Home Safety Association and Foodlink Foundation, and social enterprise Agent of Change, to provide more than 30,000 care packs and 20,000 food packs. Our resources also enabled the Senior Citizen Home Safety Association to increase its Care-on-Call services by more than 20,000 service sessions, to better address the emotional and physical well-being of the elderly, who may face greater isolation or mobility challenges amid the outbreak.
The pandemic did not stop DBS Hong Kong from giving back. We have mobilised our volunteering actions in digital and creative ways. More than 1,200 employees have hand-drawn over 7,200 greeting cards offering cheers and encouragement to the vulnerable, and over 40 volunteers made regular phone calls to 200 elderly to address their emotional well-being despite social distancing. We have also co-organised an online career talk with Junior Achievement Hong Kong for over 300 secondary school students, and conducted a series of live workshops for kids and elderly to provide them online edutainment at home.
The pandemic lockdown has resulted in unforeseen circumstances for senior citizens, especially those living alone or facing financial difficulties. The temporary closure of factories and workplaces further impacted low-income migrant workers and raised concerns over job security and access to daily necessities and groceries. To alleviate this, we have partnered NonProfit Incubator, Green Food Bank and others to launch a “Food for Care” programme and provided about 1.2 million meals to affected communities. About 12,000 low-income individuals also received support including personal hygiene kits. More than 400 volunteers contributed 1,600 volunteering hours to pack and deliver food and personal protective equipment to those in need.
Most children in rural communities lack access to technology which impedes their learning. To tackle this, we worked on giving our bank’s retired desktops and laptops a new lease of life by refurbishing them to be used as learning technology for rural children. 20 volunteers spent three days setting up a ‘DBS Green Computer Room’ with 41 retired desktops and laptops. During which, our volunteers also participated in activities with the 50 rural children which include having these children draw their first digital pictures with the computers.
Test kits, protective gear for healthcare workers were in short supply in India, along with critical facilities and equipment. We partnered UNICEF, United Way, Metropolis Labs and others to scale up public health infrastructure, provide medical supplies and equipment, and sponsor free testing for the underprivileged. We also provided the equivalent of 2 million meals, in the form of food supplies and pre-packaged meals, to communities affected by the pandemic, in partnership with organisations such as Pratham, Akshaya Patra and United Way.
We conducted our first ever all virtual hackathon - Hack-2-Help over a weekend in April 2020. Hack-2-Help was organised with the intention to engage the developer community to come up with innovative technology solutions addressing the challenges of Covid-19. The 30-hour online event was joined by close to 100 attendees including participants, judging panels and volunteers. Teams came up with a plethora of digital solutions around contact tracing, social distancing, pandemic information, health & wellness, and education & learning
While the pandemic was comparatively well controlled in Taiwan, seniors living alone in more rural areas had less access to food and groceries as they were unable to receive group meals provided by NPOs/ NGOs at community centres. The food delivery system had also been severely affected by the pandemic. We donated 45,000 food packs, containing staples and sanitising bottles sourced from social enterprises, to those in need.
In celebration of DBS’ birthday in July 2020, DBS Taiwan partnered Taipei Happy Mount to host a charity bazaar to raise funds and spent time interacting with the residents. Taipei Happy Mount is an 86 year-old community hospital for patients who need intensive home nursing care run by an NPO. Due to the pandemic, regular donations to the hospital dropped by 40%. The hospital also faced a shortage of supplies. We rallied more than 200 employees and their family members to volunteer at the event, providing their own items for sale to raise funds for the hospital. Employees also befriended 127 residents by bringing them to visit the bazaar, feeding them during mealtimes and watching performances together.
The Covid-19 pandemic hit the nation’s economy. Those badly impacted by the economic downturn include wage workers and laborers in the formal and informal sectors. These daily wage workers and laborers lost their jobs or income due to being placed on furlough. The negative impact of the pandemic upon the workers motivated us to lend our support. We partnered with FoodBank of Indonesia and Konfederasi Serikat Buruh Seluruh Indonesia (one of the biggest labor confederation in Indonesia), to provide about 275,000 meals to 11,500 daily wage workers in Jakarta and its surrounding areas, as well as West Java. To help address the shortage of Covid-19 test kits in Indonesia, we also donated 100,000 units of a rapid test kit, polymerase chain reaction machines and other medical supplies to the Government of Indonesia.
To reduce the spread of Covid-19 infection, the wearing of masks was made mandatory in Indonesia. However, many Indonesians lacked the understanding of the importance of these health protocols. To address the demand for reusable masks for the underprivileged, 852 employees from the DBS Risk Management Group in Indonesia worked together to sew 4,260 cloth masks. Together with the donations from the DBS Indonesia employees, 2,200 of the masks were distributed through our partner FoodBank of Indonesia to provide for the needy on the street, while the rest were distributed directly by our volunteers to other neighbouring areas.