When you see the plight of needy senior citizens on television programs, your heart goes out to them but do you actually do something about it? I wished I could contribute in one way or another but never knew how. The opportunity finally came one day when a close friend of mine shared with me how a simple packet of rice can bring smiles to our needy old folks in Singapore.
A Packet Of Rice (APOR) is a self funded project initiated by a group of volunteers who distribute meals and food items right to the doorsteps of the needy senior citizens who are living in rental flats in Singapore.
One of the volunteers Vincent Goh shared that Singapore is facing a gradual ageing population and there is a significant number of single old folks who are left fending for themselves. Some of them are single to begin with, others are childless or abandoned by their own children. Many of these senior citizens are low income earners. Faced with ever rising inflation and influx of cheaper, younger foreign manpower, many of them are unemployed. APOR hope to ease their difficulties slightly and offer care, concerns, warmth and more importantly hope for their remaining days.
With the help of a Senior Service Centre, APOR has identified some 220 senior resident who needs their assistance. Here’s how a typical distribution works. Packed lunch and food items are ordered a week prior to the distribution date. Purchased from donated funds, APOR is prudent in their spendings and ensures that they get good rates from their catering supplier for the lunch boxes.
Food staples such as bananas, buns, bread, biscuits and packet drinks are purchased from local supermarkets or wholesaler. These items are then transported to the stipulated meet up point for volunteers to bundle them into convenient take and go packages according to the recipients’ HDB block numbers.
Once all the packing is completed, a briefing will be conducted for all volunteers before they split into 3 teams for the door-to-door distribution.
Other than the main task of distributing the food items, APOR also encourages volunteers to interact with the senior residents and check if they require any special assistance from APOR. Volunteers help to convey issues or feedbacks if any to the Senior Service Centre and in some cases take on the task of help these senior residents themselves.
APOR also organises engaging and fun festive activities such as the Lunar New Year Lunch Celebration for these senior residents.
A Portrait Photography Session was also recently arranged for these senior citizens. The idea of the old folks preparing their departure photos in advance may sound morbid but it is a necessity that some may not be able to afford on their own.
Some of the old folks did enjoy the attention and feel good dolling themselves up for the camera!
This loving couple walked into the photography room together. They have been together for 40 years. When asked about their age, the gentleman told the volunteers that he is 93 years old while his other half is 83 years old. Throughout the entire photo session, no words were uttered between them yet there were so much emotional exchange.
A Packet Of Rice (APOR) will like to extend their care and concerns to needy senior citizens in other parts of Singapore as well. They welcome any contributions or sponsorships. Nothing is ever considered too small for their old folks.
If you will like contribute or play a part in this meaningful project, APOR can be contacted at [email protected]il.com. Alternatively, you can also drop them a note on their official Facebook Fan Page at www.facebook.com/apacketofrice. They will be in touch with you in a jiffy.
AspirantSG Cares is our blog social responsibility (BSR) initiative to take on a proactive role to assist individuals or groups who are driving social projects for the underprivileged in Singapore.
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