THE elderly care sector is set to benefit from nearly $1.3 million, thanks to a new drive that will see the Government match donations from social service organisations.
Community Chest raised around $640,000 from the public under its Lunar New Year Care and Share project.
This total is now set to be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Government from a $250 million kitty announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Friday to build the capabilities of the social service sector.
Since the start of the year, donors have been buying festive packs filled with sponsored grocery items on popular shopping websites.
These packs will be distributed to needy elderly.
The combined sum – around $1.28 million – will go to 15 voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs) providing care to the elderly. It will fund new programmes, facilities and staff training to meet rising needs.
Care and Share was launched last October to encourage donations and volunteering in the run-up to Singapore’s 50th anniversary celebrations next year.
“We want to go beyond monetary contributions, which are critical, but also spur people to put in time and effort to help the vulnerable,” said Community Chest managing director Ng Ling Ling.
Regular charity donor Andrew Tan, one of 600 people who contributed to the Care and Share project, decided to volunteer at a VWO for the first time. He helped to pack and distribute the Community Chest packs to elderly residents living in one-room flats in Bukit Merah last week.
“It is more meaningful when you help out and see how your donations make a difference,” said the 27-year-old insurance broker.
Companies have also been pitching in. Thirty staff from local conglomerate Keppel spent yesterday packing and distributing festive packs for 250 residents from Bright Hill Evergreen Home.
Welfare groups said the money will enable them to help overlooked segments of the elderly population.
Thye Hua Kwan Moral Charities, which offers dementia day- care and home-help services, intends to assist the squeezed middle class, those who need elderly services but do not qualify for subsidies.
Divisional director Joseph Cheong said: “The needs of the elderly are becoming more multi-faceted, and we want to use the money to help more elderly access services available in the community.”
The Government will match donations to VWOs up to the end of this year.
Community Chest said the success of its project will encourage other organisations to follow suit.
“While it will be a lot of hard work for Community Chest and VWOs to raise substantially more to receive the full matching grant, this first boost has given us more confidence in the generosity of Singaporeans,” said Ms Ng.
Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.
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