Project Dignity, the company that runs Dignity Kitchen, has implored people to support their hawker-style center and other revenue-generating efforts while they struggle to stay open.
In a Facebook post from the company, they said that ever since the Wuhan coronavirus appeared on Singaporean soil, business has been scarce and they are unable to provide even salaries for their staff.
Their usual elderly and corporate lunch events had ceased. Not enough diners go out to patronize the food that their elderly and PWD workers prepare.
How bad is the situation at Dignity Kitchen?
They first posted about the status of their business on March 11, giving an ominous photo of their premises, which was bare with no activity.
An empty foodcourt… That is how Dignity Kitchen has been like since COVID-19 hit Singapore. Where once lunchtimes had been filled with merry voices of the elderly during karaoke, we have had to stop our daily lunch treat for them too. To make matters worse, our revenue has been cut significantly.
Our office has been awfully quiet and empty…. To be continuedfrom Dignity Kitchen Facebook page
Then the next day, they revealed their dire straits. This is their message to their supporters:
According to the post above, most of their operations have ceased. They had also been unable to pay their workers on time, requiring two installments to give salaries.
They had also tried very hard to pay government dues and other overhead expenses, as failing to do so would get them a reminder letter that could further put the company in jeopardy.
All their events were cancelled. Their regular elderly lunches were cancelled. Their sales had dropped by 90%. The company said that for the first time in ten years, they had no lunch prepared for the elderly.
They asked if companies would want to collaborate with them at this time, but with social distancing measures in place, their usual corporate source of income could have dried up.
Dignity Mama branch closed with others reduced hours
Their other project, which was a bookstore operated by persons with disability, has been closed until further notice. They had been forced to put their workers on unpaid leave as they try to keep the whole operation afloat.
How can netizens help?
Netizens have come forward to give suggestions and offer words of support to Dignity Kitchen.
Dignity Kitchen said that they do offer delivery services for their food.
A netizen suggested that they should list their food on courier services to gain more orders.
Others suggested that they change their operating hours to take advantage of weekend and holiday customers.
Economic experts have said that small businesses would have to brace for the impact of COVID-19, which may change the landscape of the world economy.
Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan has even said that the effects of the disease could last for a year, especially as the nature of the Wuhan coronavirus is unlike the flu or SARS.
No one is more vulnerable in the age of COVID-19 than the poor, PWDs, and the elderly. Most of them are unable to fight off the disease thanks to multiple health problems, or even complete lack of nutrition. While others may not get sick, their sources of income would undoubtedly suffer.
You can contact Dignity through their Facebook page, or go to their location at Blk 267 Serangoon Ave 3 #02-02, Singapore 550267.
Header image from Dignity Kitchen