3 June 2013, Singapore – In this fast pace environment we live in, we take many things for granted. As we rush to the nearest food stall to ‘dabao’ our lunch, we forget there are people unable to head down to the food center to get their favorite food due to various reasons.
What started as a simple thought to distribute meal box to low income needy residents and senior citizens residing in rented 1 or 2 rooms flats, has garnered 52 volunteers for their last distribution. We speak to “Mr Cow” who requested we keep his identity a secret.
What inspired you want to do this?
A: Singapore’s ageing population has been increasing every year with many of them living alone or being childless. Due to high living standards, these senior citizens are low income earners and some are unemployed due to old age, lack of education or illnesses. We hope to ease their difficulties slightly.
What are the difficulties you faced?
A: During the initiate stage, we had contacted a few service centres to work with. We met either rejections or not reply. We were fortunate that we have 2 centres that are willingly to work with us. Another problem we face is the sponsorship for the food. We need an average of S$1,200 per distribution to purchase the packed food, fruit, drink and other food items for some 235 residents. We had to reply on friends and colleagues for help and very blissfully, with social media as a tool to help us to promote our project, we have many wonderful people coming forward to help us in term of financially and physically.
How many volunteers do you have helping you?
A: We have an average of 40 volunteers per distribution with more than half of them are regular volunteers. They are from all walks of life and different ages and races. We even had a 3 generation family who came to help out too. We hope that the volunteers, especially the younger generations will know that we do have less fortunate people in Singapore and that there are some Singaporeans who are living in poor living conditions.
What kind of response did you get from the elderly showing up with a packet of rice?
A: The elderly appreciate our distribution and time despite us doing only twice a month. We have built a relatively good relationship with the elderly over the time. Some of them could even remember our volunteers. We have so far done 12 distributions and a few activities with them.
Do you have plans to do more for the elderly?
A: We are exploring to do more than just distributing packed food and food items. We had done a Lunar New Year Lunch Celebration with the support of companies and we had a portrait photography session for about 30 residents. We also arranged a half day outing for 34 residents. We also look into doing more for the lesser fortunate residents. We did a home makeover for a 93 years old elderly whose house was relatively in very bad condition. Moving forward, we hope to provide more than just physical needs but as well as social needs to these residents.
We are also looking at the possibility to do at other parts of Singapore if we have sufficient resources.
What is the biggest satisfaction from conceptualizing to realizing this idea?
A: The biggest satisfaction is to see the elderly smile and happy. Besides that, we are very happy to see many people stepping forward to help out in one way or another.
How can public/others help if they would like to chip in?
A: We are happy to welcome any sponsorship in cash/in kind for our distribution. We will also be very delighted to see them volunteering their time with us at our distributions. You can in fact start to help us by a click on the “like” and “share” on our facebook page. For more information about our project, they may visit at www.facebook.com/apacketofrice or email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will like to quote from Mr Jim Rohn, an America’s Foremost Business Philosopher – Giving is better than Receiving because Giving starts the Receiving process.