SINGAPORE – Ahead of Chinese New Year on Feb 1, the Community Chest will distribute over 8,100 festive bags to seniors and families in need.
More than 1,150 volunteers helped pack the “fu dai” (fortune bags in Mandarin) from Thursday (Jan 13) to Saturday. Each bag holds food and essential household items.
Into its ninth year, the initiative – co-organised with volunteer group Heartwarmers – was scaled up to distribute nearly 30 per cent more festive bags compared with the 6,700 last year.
“We recognise that while the wider community is adapting to live with Covid-19 in our midst, the struggle to cope amid uncertain times may prove harder for the groups of Singaporeans in need,” said Mr Phillip Tan, chairman of the Community Chest – the fund-raising arm of the National Council of Social Service, which coordinates social service agencies in Singapore.
“As we move forward amid these unprecedented times, Community Chest recognises the need to step up its efforts in caring for those in need amongst us,” added Mr Tan, who was speaking on Saturday at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre.
At the event, which marked the official start of when the fortune bags are distributed, he also announced that the Community Chest has raised over $2.8 million through this year’s “fu dai” event.
The Community Chest needs over $50 million every year to fund more than 100 social service agencies and 200 programmes, which support over 41,000 individuals including children with special needs and adults with disabilities.
Donors this year include Singapore Exchange (SGX), which contributed $350,000, and SPH Foundation and NTUC FairPrice Foundation, which pitched in with $300,000 each.
Long-running partner Standard Chartered Bank also provided about 450 volunteers to help pack and deliver the bags.
Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean was guest of honour at the event.
Minister for Family and Social Development Masagos Zulkifli later led the distribution of festive bags to families in his Tampines constituency.
Also delivering bags to households in their constituencies were: Minister for National Development Desmond Lee in West Coast, Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim in Nee Soon, Minister of State for Social and Family Development and Education Sun Xueling in Punggol West, Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development and Culture, Community and Youth Eric Chua in Tanjong Pagar.
MPs Joan Pereira, Shawn Huang, Ng Ling Ling and Xie Yao Quan were also involved in the distribution effort in their respective constituencies.
Aside from fund raising through the giving.sg platform, the public can also donate to Community Chest through a social media campaign, by posting a heart-shaped hand gesture with the hashtag #ShareJoyWithComChest.
Technology company Xilinx Asia Pacific has pledged to donate $100 to the Community Chest for every photo posted during this campaign, which runs till Feb 28.