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Self-Improvement & Hobbies

Food lovers' enterprise goes down a treat with charities

Food lovers host dinners for their friends, who in return, give a fee that is then donated to charity
The Straits Times - January 25, 2012
By: Tay Suan Chiang
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Food lovers' enterprise goes down a treat with charities Mr Johan Lim and friends at a dinner organised by him. -- PHOTO: JOHAN LIM

IT IS no secret that Singaporeans love food, and now a growing number are combining their love of eating well with helping the less fortunate.

These food lovers host intimate dinners for their friends, and in return the guests give a fee that is donated to their chosen charity.

Public relations manager Janet Lim hosted two charity dinners at her home in Bukit Timah last year.

'I wanted to help the less fortunate and thought that it would be good to turn my dinner parties into charity dinners,' said Ms Lim, 32. 'I enjoy cooking and hosting, thus it would be a good use of my skills and it would be enjoyable at the same time.'

Her busy work schedule leaves her with little time to physically help out at a charity, so 'this is an easy way for me to contribute and help the needy'.

At a charity dinner last June, she raised $750 from five friends. The money was donated to the Society for the Aged Sick.

Ms Lim whipped up a dinner including dishes such as seared beef, pan-fried seafood, roasted potatoes and tiramisu. The cost of the meal was about $250, which Ms Lim paid for out of her own pocket.

She now plans to host charity dinners on a more regular basis.

Photographer Johan Lim, 29, started a movement called A Little Something, which encourages Singaporeans to host such dinners, two years ago.

'It is a little idea, an idea I hope everyone will adopt,' said Mr Lim, adding that the parties need not be elaborate. They can be simple affairs, a dinner, a potluck party or maybe just a group of friends making their own drinks.

In the past two years, he has hosted six dinners, raising about $5,000 for various charities.

Some of the money has been donated to the Red Cross Home for the Disabled. A visit to the home two years ago prompted Mr Lim to start the movement.

To help spread the word, he started A Little Something page on Facebook, where friends can post pictures of the dinners.

Senior marketing communications executive Rosalind Tan, 30, attended one of Mr Lim's dinners last year at his photography studio in Bukit Batok.

'The idea of marrying food with charity is something from the heart. It is for a good cause, minus the glamour found at most charity galas,' said Ms Tan.

There are no official figures on how popular these small-scale charity dinners are, but charities find it a novel way for the public to raise funds.

'We are certainly noticing more creative ways to donate or raise funds, and are heartened to see examples of giving that combine leisure activities or hobbies with a charity element,' said Mr Laurence Lien, chief executive officer of the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre.

'Ultimately, it's not about the amount of money you raise but more about connecting friends and associates with a cause you believe in, because once the compassion is there, the giving will flow.'



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