It’s a blessing to be able to give back to society, avers Ong Choon Seng, secretary of SAFRA Community Services Club (SAFRACS). “To serve and give back and benefit the underprivileged community – this will help create a society where help and support is from the ground up and more self-sustaining,” he says.
Patricia Lee, committee member, concurs. “We exist as a community. Sometimes we need a little help to move forward, which we get from the people around us. When someone else is in need, we should return the favour to the community that has helped us before,” she says.
It is with this credo that volunteers, comprising working adults and a handful of retirees and students, uphold at SAFRACS. To reach out to the underprivileged and engage them through new shared experiences, the club organises myriad activities to different groups, ranging from the elderly to special needs (intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities and hearing impaired), children’s day-care centres and voluntary welfare organisations.
Once a month, the committee meets a SAFRA staff to plan for upcoming events and outings. Volunteers will be informed of activities, and those who are keen to participate can register their involvement.
Ong elaborates: “On a typical month, we target 40 beneficiaries for visits to the home, centre or outing, as well as in-house activities at a SAFRA clubhouse. Once a year, we will also have a major activity [either Chinese New Year for the elderly or Christmas for children] that reaches up to 200 beneficiaries.”
Volunteers don’t just engage with the underprivileged at these outings – SAFRACS also facilitates opportunities for beneficiaries to bond with their families and support groups, shares Ong. “We extend invitations to families of beneficiaries to participate in activities together. For example, in our last visit to Jurong Lake Gardens [on 20 Jul], caregivers were invited to join their children for the event,” he reveals.