SINGAPORE – Have some time on your hands? Make a difference in these challenging times by contributing to these ground-up efforts.
SHOP FOR A NEIGHBOUR
Do some good in your neighbourhood when you are heading out for your weekly grocery run.
Buy and deliver essential items to low-income families listed on the Where’s Wally Movement Facebook page, which includes the family’s requests, circumstances and where they live. Many families require items such as diapers, formula milk and dried food.
Mr Domennic Chan, 41, and lawyer Jolene Lim, 30, a married couple who run darts bar Cranky Cats and law firm YSL Legal together, launched the initiative this month to connect needy families with those who want to help.
Mr Chan says: “We have always wanted to assist low-income families in Singapore. We believe that many in our social circle also wish to do so, but don’t know how.”
He adds that the movement was inspired by the British children’s puzzle book series of the same name.
“We would like to be a Wally, always part of the crowd, but stepping up to offer assistance in times of need,” he says.
The former is a buddy system that pairs people with the elderly, isolated individuals or low-income families living nearby. Volunteers check in via phone calls and help in any way they can, such as by offering financial guidance, buying groceries or lending IT equipment for home-based learning.
Meanwhile, the GoodHood.SG app lets you list items for donation such as strollers or toys, or list ways you can help. You can also respond to specific requests from those living around you.
Entrepreneur Nigel Teo, 39, who is one of four people behind the app, says: “It’s tough with people losing their jobs and sectors being hit badly. If there is a sense of community and people give what they can and what they have, then neighbours can get to know one another better.”
KEEP YOUR FAVOURITE BUSINESS ALIVE
The food and beverage industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak.
Support your favourite establishment and make someone’s day by sending them a meal as part of the MyTreat initiative, launched by food writer and private dining chef Annette Tan, 47.
Order from a list of suggested restaurants compiled on her website, or any other business you want to support, and tag the business and recipient in an Instagram template to spread the word.
Mr Jason Lim,who runs social media branding and consultancy firm Stratgeist, received a surprise delivery of Thai green curry with rice from a long-time friend. It was sent to his office on April 6 and much appreciated, as he was rushing to finalise work-from-home arrangements before circuit breaker measures kicked in the next day.
“My initial reaction was, ‘Hey, I’ll buy you back tomorrow, bro’. But my friend reminded me that the whole purpose of this movement was to pay it forward to the next person,” says Mr Lim, 36, who has since sent meals to a few other friends.
Those looking forward to better days can buy a gift card from their favourite local store, which will help it stay afloat by contributing to fixed costs such as rent, employee wages and insurance.
Get them from Chope and Save, which lists businesses such as F&B outlets, retail and book stores and independent cinema The Projector.
The platform was launched by a group of Singaporean youth late last month who were inspired by the SaveOurFaves directory that lists stores in the San Francisco Bay Area.
TEACH MIGRANT WORKERS OR STUDENTS
With thousands of migrant workers stuck indoors, there is no better time to extend the hand of friendship and teach English to one of them.
Sign up for Mad Wish, which stands for Making a Difference While I Stay Home. The remote tutoring initiative was launched this month by social enterprise ItsRainingRaincoats, which focuses on migrant worker issues.
Volunteers will be paired with a migrant worker and are encouraged to structure weekly chats to help meet workers’ individual learning goals. These may include responding to company e-mails or ordering food at a hawker centre.
Lead volunteer Ruchi Trivedi, 34, who has volunteered with the social enterprise for about two years, says workers have approached it wanting to improve their English, but did not have time to take lessons.
“During this period, the workers spend all day in their rooms. They see their dorm mates being taken away by ambulance and they worry. If, for one hour, their mind is occupied by learning something, it is a useful way to spend their time,” adds Mrs Ruchi, a former manufacturing engineer who is between jobs.
More than 325 tutors have signed up so far and about 200 have been matched with migrant workers.
Meanwhile, home-based learning has been in full swing for over two weeks now – but it has not been a level-playing field. Some students benefit from more support from their parents or private tutors, while others, lacking a conducive environment at home, struggle to keep up.
Want to help? Sign up to give free online lessons to underserved students who do not have access to private tuition. You will help them with homework or answer questions in online sessions that last between 30 minutes and two hours.
Tutor students from primary school to junior college with Covid-19 Tutoring Support For Students, launched by first-year University of Oxford undergraduate Quek Hui Ying, 20. More than 1,400 volunteers have signed up since the site was launched earlier this month.
With the Temporary Academic Assistance initiative, you can tutor students of all levels, including those from tertiary institutions or with special needs. It was started by Mr Andy Teo, 25, a final-year business and accounting student at Nanyang Technological University.
If you lack the aptitude to teach, you can still lend a hand by uploading academic material on social enterprise platform SmartGuppy and help students at home study.
The website contains free resources – catering to those from primary school to junior college levels – and includes cheat sheets for quick revision, practice papers from various schools and comprehensive subject notes.
For more volunteer opportunities, or to seek help, visit this website.