Despite the current challenges, independent food and drink businesses are rallying to bring much-needed joy to those working tirelessly to contain the spread of the coronavirus

Fear surrounding the struggle to contain the coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak has impacted many businesses, particularly those in the local food and beverage industry. Yet, despite the uncertainties they are facing, a few F&B brands are working together to thank the unsung heroes at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) by funding meals for everyone working at the centre.

“I believe that in times of crisis, we see the best in people,” shares Han Liguang of Michelin-starred restaurant Labyrinth, who initiated this campaign and got the folks at Keng Eng Kee Seafood (KEK), Jam At Siri House, Sanity Coffee and Pezzo Group to join forces.

To raise funds to purchase food from KEK and Pezzo Group for the NCID staff, Labyrinth is contributing $20 per dinner customer, $80 for every bottle of corkage charged and $40 for each bottle of wine sold; NCID staff will also enjoy 20 per cent of their lunch and dinner bill at the restaurant.

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Similarly, chef Tan Huang Ming of Jam At Siri House is hoping guests will appreciate the added allure of its Jam And Toast dessert, and newly launched Lounge Cocktails; the restaurant has pledged to donate 50 per cent of the sales from the former, and 30 per cent of sales from the latter.

“A tasty meal sent with love is our form of thanks to the hardworking staff who provide our society with peace of mind,” he adds. “Working in the F&B industry has provided us with so much joy, and I hope that in our own small way we can contribute meaningfully to the people that work hard on the frontlines.”

On top of a $2,000 donation to the purchase of halal foods from Pezzo Group, KEK will match every dollar in food value for orders placed by Labyrinth or Jam Siri House to be delivered to NCID. To boot, Pezzo Group will match these food orders one for one and deliver them without charge.

"When Chef Han approached me with his idea, I was excited to be able to do something positive instead of sitting around worrying about the situation,” says Diya Tan of Sanity Coffee, which is offering all NCID staff a 20 per cent discount, as well as complimentary coffee on an ongoing basis. She also wondered how much of a difference a little coffee bar could make, but quickly realised “anyone can make a difference, no matter how big or small”. 

(Related: These Fashion and Beauty Companies Have Donated Millions to Battle Coronavirus)

“It’s really heartening to see people so eager to contribute,” Han adds, noting that five people have emailed to make donations after he sent out an electronic direct mail about the campaign late last week. The restaurants, he affirms, are committed to the effort for two months but may consider extending it.

The first batch of weekly deliveries to NCID is headed out this Friday, but Han assures that if more money is raised, they would make deliveries twice a week or even consider delivering to the staff at other hospitals.

Members of the public can also donate to the effort by emailing here.