Giving money to your favourite non-profit organisation isn’t the only way to help people in need or get behind an important cause. Volunteering your time, energy and skills; donating food, clothes, toys and books; or just being a friend to the lonely and vulnerable in our community can sometimes make a bigger and more meaningful impact than financial contributions.
Here are just some ways you can do your part for charity without donating money. And with February being Total Defence Month, these actions help build Social Defence, too, as they encourage us to strengthen our ties with our fellow Singaporeans from all races, religions and cultures.
Give food to a food-insecure family
Despite being a food lover’s paradise, food insecurity is very much an issue in Singapore. In 2019, The Food Bank Singapore found that about 10 per cent of local households had experienced food insecurity at least once in the previous 12 months. Food insecurity can have serious consequences on a person’s mental and physical health.
You can help food-insecure families by donating uncooked rice and pasta, canned meat and fish, boxed cereals, coffee and tea, canned soup, and other non-perishable food items. Simply drop your donation in one of the more than 80 Food Bank boxes located islandwide. The packages should be dry and unopened, and no less than four weeks to their expiry date. For box locations, go to foodbank.sg.
Donate books and help young adults with special needs
The Dignity Mama bookstore is an initiative by Project Dignity, a local social enterprise that trains, finds jobs for, and employs people with disabilities, intellectual and social challenges. There are four stores located in Singapore hospitals, all run by young adults with special needs. Managing the stores is a chance for these youths to work and develop entrepreneurial skills.
If you have books that you no longer need, drop them off at the Dignity Mama bookstores at Ng Teng Fong and National University Hospital (Medical Centre). They accept up to three grocery bags or three A4-sized boxes of children’s books, adult fiction and non-fiction titles, and magazines. All donations must be in good condition (no dog ears, markings, stains, and so on). Visit projectdignity.sg/dignity-mama for more details.
Read more about the man behind Project Dignity, Dignity Mama and Dignity Kitchen: The Go-Getter
Tutor kids from low-income families
Since 2002, Children’s Wishing Well has been providing a range of services to children and youth from low-income families. As a volunteer, you can help these young beneficiaries by providing one-on-one tuition in various academic subjects, giving them regular lessons in music, sports, art and other non-academic areas, reading to them every week at Reading Club sessions, and teaching them life skills, such as public speaking, cooking and personal grooming.
If you’re interested, get in touch at www.wishingwell.org.sg.
Lend a hand to seniors
Touch Community Services, a non-profit organisation, welcomes regular volunteers who can assist their elderly clients with a range of tasks and essential services. Their Meals-on-Wheels meal delivery programme, for instance, designed for homebound seniors who usually live alone, requires volunteer drivers and delivery personnel who can commit weekly. Their Befriender (Medical Appointment) programme is currently looking for volunteers who can accompany wheelchair-bound seniors to medical appointments and ferrying them around different parts of the hospital. Visit touch.org.sg to find out more and to register your interest.
You can also apply to be a Centre Volunteer at Lions Befrienders Singapore, which befriends and cares for our seniors. As a volunteer, you get to facilitate fun activities for the beneficiaries and help them age with joy. For more information, go to www.lionsbefrienders.org.sg.
Help migrant workers
Put a smile on the faces of migrant workers with a care pack or a hot meal. The non-profit organisation It’s Raining Raincoats, which helps migrant workers integrate into the community, welcomes donations of toiletries, nutritious snacks, treats, sanitisers and hot food. Email email@example.com to express your interest.
HOME, the non-governmental organisation that provides assistance to migrant workers in Singapore, many of whom are abused and exploited, also invites volunteers who can commit to a stint of at least six months. There’s a range of volunteer roles available, including befriending these workers and helping with specific case work. Orientation and training are provided. Find out more at www.home.org.sg.
Want more articles like this, and other lifestyle content right in your inbox? Sign up for the eNSman Newsletter – you don’t need to be a SAFRA member to subscribe – and never miss another story!