SINGAPORE – It was just like his usual grocery-shopping trip as Mr Jimson Lim picked up household essentials such as packets of biscuits and coffee, except that he did not need to pay a single cent for the items.

The 60-year-old hairstylist was among the 400 lower-income families with children living in public rental units in Jalan Besar GRC who gratefully took advantage of a one-day Give and Take Mega Market on Saturday (Aug 20).

The mega market, jointly organised by the Central Singapore Community Development Council and Jalan Besar GRC grassroots organisations, aims to defray the cost of living for these families.

It had 20 booths, providing goods and services ranging from clothes, carnival games, food trucks to haircuts and massages – all at no cost. They were sponsored by 13 corporate and division partners such as FairPrice Foundation, Gardenia and Kellogg’s.

Said Mr Lim: “I get to save some money as I also picked some items like a jar of honey and two bottles of Vitamin C.”

The mega market is a special edition of the monthly Give and Take market, which was launched in October 2021 and is rotated monthly across Jalan Besar GRC.

Mr Lim’s wife, Mrs Heti Lim, picked up three pieces of clothing and a pair of shoes from global fashion e-retailer Shein. “I’m very happy because I would need to spend about $100 to buy these items on my own,” said the 33-year-old who works in a nursing home.

Shein’s Singapore general manager Leonard Lin said the company, which is making its debut at the market, believes in making fashion accessible to all.

“Our first participation at the market has allowed us to share the experience with families in need and to give back to the community,” he added.

Speaking to reporters at the event, Jalan Besar GRC MP Josephine Teo, who is also adviser to the GRC’s grassroots organisations (Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng) said that after the general election in 2020, advisers in the constituency wanted to find a way to spread care and concern in the community.

“So we came up with this idea of the Give and Take Market. It has almost come up to the first-year anniversary and during this period we have benefited more than 1,200 families,” said Mrs Teo, who is Minister for Communications and Information and Second Minister for Home Affairs.