When Jamie Tay and her family went Christmas shopping last year, their list was extra long. On top of buying gifts for their loved ones, they added toy musical instruments, card games, Play-Doh sets, a Lego set, stationery, and toy cars to their cart. This was because they were taking part in the first-ever charity drive “Gifts of Joy” organised by CapitaCommercial Trust Management Limited (CCTML) to benefit underprivileged children.
“Not every child in Singapore has access to the same resources, and we can all chip in to create warm and fun childhood experiences for the less privileged. The charity drive is also a timely reminder for us to take stock of our blessings and donate to someone in greater need. I also encouraged several of my colleagues to contribute to this initiative,” said Tay, a Fixed Income Product Specialist at Amundi Singapore Limited whose office is located at Capital Tower.
Involved in the initiative are CapitaLand staff and tenants at four CapitaCommercial Trust (CCT) office buildings – Capital Tower, One George Street, Six Battery Road, and Twenty Anson. Over two weeks in December 2013, collection points were set up at these properties for people to drop off new toys, clothes and sports items. The gifts were for children from four beneficiaries: Infant Jesus Homes & Children’s Centres (IJHCC), Melrose Home (Singapore Children’s Aid Society), MINDSville@Napiri and Singapore Anglican Community Services Family Care Centre. This is the first time a landlord in the Central Business District (CBD) has come up with a charity drive to engage tenants for the benefit of needy children.
Giving with Joy
“We wanted to remember that Christmas is a time to share joy, hope and love even as we celebrated the year-end festivities. We introduced “Gifts of Joy” for the first time with the aim of bringing joy to the less privileged children. Through this tenant engagement initiative, we hoped to encourage our tenants to join us in this charitable act. We also hoped to inculcate in our staff the heart of service through the wrapping and delivery of the gifts to the beneficiaries,” said Ms Lynette Leong, Chief Executive Officer of CCTML.
For Assistant Manager of Standard Merchant Bank (Asia) Limited, Linda Ho, the motivation to spread love and cheer was what made her give to “Gifts of Joy”.
“This is a brilliant initiative. You can imagine how the children’s eyes sparkle and their faces light up each time they receive a gift. This is what I see in my daughter whenever she receives gifts, so I know the joy it will bring to these underprivileged children, especially during the Christmas season,” said Ho who gave two craft sets.
“I love giving gifts to children that allows learning through playing. These gifts promote creativity and motor skills development.”
She is so inspired that she intends to involve her daughter in future charity efforts.
Spreading Love and Cheer
The drive attracted positive response from tenants and staff who donated a total of 627 gifts and S$4,000 cash. Fifty-three staff volunteers from CCTML, CapitaLand, and CapitaMalls Asia then spent two days sorting through, wrapping and delivering the gifts to the 171 children aged between four and 20.
“I’m glad that our company provided this platform for us and tenants alike to do something meaningful for the children. It was also a good way to bond with my colleagues,” said Marilyn Lee, Senior Finance Executive, CCTML, who took time off to play Santa to the kids.
All the volunteers’ efforts were welcomed with much anticipation from the excited children.
“With CapitaCommercial Trust’s initiative, our children will still have the opportunity to experience the joy of Christmas. Coming from dysfunctional families, celebrating festive seasons in their own homes is not a norm. Thanks for bringing some cheer into the lives of our children and the gifts have certainly brought on many smiles,” said Amargid Singh, Programme Executive (Volunteer & Philanthropy), Melrose Home.
“During the festive season, it is all too easy to get caught up with the celebrations and merry-making. It is heartening to know that people still spare a thought for the underprivileged children in our society. We hope these children will remember the generosity shown to them and pay it forward,” said Jennifer Lim, Chief Executive Officer of IJHCC.
The warm response from the tenants has prompted CCTML to make "Gifts of Joy" an annual event and extend it to more of CCT’s office buildings this Christmas. Looks like there will be another opportunity to spread love and joy this year!