There are many opportunities to do good in Singapore, from donating pre-loved clothes, to peeling potatoes at Willing Hearts, or volunteering with animal welfare organisations. Here’s another idea: instead of looking for the most Instagrammable cafes for your next meal, check out these eateries with hearts of gold, where you can have a delicious meal while giving back to the community.
This new concept from Springleaf Prata hires persons with disabilities (PWDs), and imparts relevant skillsets that will better their long-term employment chances. The owner has also invested in special machines like an automated pan fryer, making it easier for PWDs to easily operate with a touch of a button to fry up a plate of mee goreng. Their menu comprises stalwarts such as prata, murtabak and thosai, as well as their Ultimate Prata series – think Praclette with mushrooms, olives and coated with melted raclette.
7A Lor 8 Toa Payoh, #01-01 Agape Village
More info at www.facebook.com/ProntoPrata
The Bettr Group
The Bettr Group comprises two coffee-focused brands – Bettr Barista and Bettr Coffee Co. The former offers professional coffee training, hires PWDs, and runs vocational programmes and micro-enterprise opportunities for marginalised women and youth-at-risk. Meanwhile, the latter comprises three mobile coffee bars at locations such as the Ministry of Social & Family Development, and an online shop retailing sustainably-sourced coffee products like coffee beans and cold brew coffee subscriptions. The company also actively reduces its carbon footprint by repurposing and recycling materials that go into its coffee operations.
Various locations; more info at www.bettr.group
This social enterprise on Waterloo Street has their special needs staff at the heart of everything they do, from employment and providing them with personal development opportunities, to sharing the earnings from service charges. What’s more, all of their profits go towards charitable and social causes, and Crossings also supports various other charities by providing meals for their beneficiaries. Visit the cafe (or order online) to nosh on some of their quality dishes at fantastic prices. Recommended menu items include the Chilli Crab Spaghetti, Crossings Laksa, and The Good Shepherd’s Pie.
55 Waterloo St #01-01, Catholic Centre
More info at crossingscafe.com.sg
Five &2 believes in creating an all-inclusive work environment, and walks the talk by providing equal job opportunities for everyone, including PWDs and ex-inmates. This vision has materialised into a quaint bistro in Punggol Park, where diners can tuck into delicious grub while gazing at the surrounding green foliage. Aside from providing ample job opportunities, Five &2 also works with welfare organisations to invite underprivileged families to the bistro for a nutritious meal.
97 Hougang Ave 8, Punggol Park
More info at www.fiveand2.co
This Muslim-owned halal-certified cafe advocates understanding and acceptance by creating a judgement-free space for children with autism to dine in. It’s heartwarming to know that families with kids on the spectrum who dine in this homely space will get their first drinks free. The menu here changes daily, and runs the gamut from breaded fish pasta and avocado chicken salad to mee rebus and laksa goreng. In addition to savoury options, sweet treats include an ondeh ondeh cake, as well as their extensive range of halal bubble teas.
7 Jalan Pisang
More info at linas-cafe.business.site
Pope Jai Thai
This little-known casual Thai joint at *SCAPE trains and employs individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities, youth-at-risk, the vulnerable and the disadvantaged. These individuals comprise 90 per cent of the workforce at Pope Jai Thai, one of the few F&B outlets in Singapore to do so. The majority of the hearty Thai dishes such as green curry chicken, BBQ pork collar, and seafood tom yum soup are priced below $15 – with nothing over $25 – giving dinners a bang for their buck.
*SCAPE, 2 Orchard Link #03-03
More info at www.popejai.com/popejaithai
Also remember to check out our story on Dignity Kitchen, which trains and provides employment to special needs individuals.
Do you have a favourite social enterprise eatery? Share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org!