Perhaps the question we want to ask as Christmas time rolls around isn’t quite so much “what do I what to receive?” but “how can I give?” And rather than simply digging into our wallets and never getting in on the actual good work, why not give time and love in action this year?
If you’re feeling what we’re thinking – the true spirit of Christmas, really – here are some organisations and charities who are calling out for volunteers during this season.
Grab a friend or two and exchange your presents with presence this Christmas!
THE GREATEST GIFTS OF ALL
1. Give homeless hearts a home for the holidays
Started by Abraham Yeo, who recently invited 50 homeless friends to his wedding, Homeless Hearts of Singapore is run by a small team of volunteers who befriend the homeless in our nation. They believe that it takes just two or three individuals who are willing to take the time to see and to stop for the one in need!
A person becomes homeless not just because he has run out of cash but because he has run out of relationships. Homeless Hearts hopes to see every homeless person of every background in every neighbourhood find full support, so that they can reintegrate into the community.
Here are some ways you can collaborate with Homeless Hearts this Christmas:
- Plan a special Christmas event for the homeless.
- Befriend the homeless during one of their outreach sessions.
- Open your homes to the homeless for a Christmas dinner.
To sign up as a volunteer to befriend homeless friends or plan events together with Homeless Hearts, fill in your details here. If you wish to open your homes to one or a few homeless friends, do message Homeless Hearts at their Facebook page.
2. Take those baking skills out of hiding
More than 40 years ago, Christina Chan responded to God’s call to reach out to those in need. Together with Pastor Philip, a former heroin addict, the duo set up the Hiding Place in 1978 with the motto: “As long as we live, we will open our door to anyone who knocks.”
Today The Hiding Place is a 24/7 resident live-in Christian home for the rehabilitation of drug addicts, ex-prisoners, alcoholics, gambling addicts, homeless orphans, inhalant abusers, wayward teens, young offenders and troubled youths.
Part of The Hiding Place’s mission is to help residents acquire skills so that they can grow and develop as individuals.
This is done through programmes such as the Pineapple Tart Workshop where they make fresh, homemade pineapple tarts using a station-to-station process which encourages teamwork and allows those involved to develop patience, discipline and on-the-job baking skills.
The Hiding Place is looking for volunteers to help with the baking of pineapple tarts and cookies for Chinese New Year 2020. This will take place between December 27, 2019, to January 23, 2020.
Simply email them at [email protected] or ring them at 6483 5348.
3. Share the gift of groceries and more
The Boys’ Brigade’s (BB) Share-a-Gift campaign began in 1988 with the objectives of bringing cheer and relief to the less fortunate in Singapore during the Christmas season.
The annual event mobilises more than 3,500 BB officers and boys together with hundreds of other volunteers to collect gifts from thousands of Singaporeans for distribution to those in need.
Here’s what members of the public can do:
- Donate food items at 13 collection points islandwide.
- Grant specific item requests at one of the eight BBSG Specific Wish Trees.
- Contribute cash at any AXS station.
- Donate hampers at NTUC FairPrice’s website.
BB is also calling out for volunteer drivers to help with the delivery of gifts and hampers together with the BB boys. A delivery slot will take about 3 hours of your time. View available slots and sign up here.
4. Lend a willing heart to those who need a hand
Willing Hearts is a soup kitchen that prepares, cooks and distributes about 5,000 daily meals to over 40 locations island-wide, 365 days a year. Beneficiaries include the elderly, the disabled, low-income families, children from single-parent families or poverty-stricken families, as well as migrant workers in Singapore.
The secular non-affiliated charity has a simple philosophy for volunteers – come with a warm smile, two helping hands, an open and willing heart and one simple question: “How can I be of help today?”
That is all it takes to volunteer at Willing Hearts.
There are 4 main volunteer roles that you can play:
- Preparation of ingredients: chopping vegetables, opening bottles and packets of seasoning and sauces, opening cans and packets of food.
- Packing of lunch boxes: scoop a portion of rice along with the dishes for the day, close lunch box and put it into the delivery basket.
- Cleaning and washing: washing of used trays, covers, baskets, cooking utensils, pots and pans.
- General help: there will always be something to help with at Willing Hearts.
Willing hearts can sign up here. There are 3 different time slots you can sign up for:
- 5am-8.30am (Help most needed)
- 8.30am-12pm (Help most needed)
5. Ring the bells of hope
This season, you would be sure to walk past at least one of The Salvation Army’s Red Kettles, stationed at our local shopping malls. Christmas Kettling is their signature public campaign to raise funds to provide essential and meaningful programmes for the underprivileged.
The Salvation Army has been touching lives in Singapore since 1935, and their diverse programmes reach out to children who need care and protection, families in material need, ailing aged requiring quality nursing care, and other needy individuals in society.
The campaign runs until December 23, 2019, Mondays to Saturdays, in blocks of 2-hour shifts with a maximum of 2 people at each station, starting from 1pm.
For group volunteering (8 people or more), email [email protected] to request for a group sign-up form.
Additional reporting by Justine Ocampo
Is your ministry or organisation looking for helping hands this Christmas? Write to us at [email protected] with details if you’d like to be included in this list.