Giving from the heart, beyond the dollars and cents
Giving to charity need not be limited to monetary donations. As we wrap gifts and prepare meals for our families and friends this festive season, how about sharing the joy and love with the community too? Here're some suggestions.
Giving your time
Many charities rely on volunteers to support their programmes and activities. You can start by giving your time to the causes you support. A non-profit charity which works with grassroots organisations and welfare homes for its food distribution programme, Food from the Heart collects surplus bread and pastries from over 100 bakeries and hotels, along with other non-perishable food items.
Food from the Heart collects an astounding 28,000 kg of bread a month and redistributes it to those who need it more. Volunteers include cabbies who use their spare time after their shifts to pick up and drop off the baked goods at senior centres or welfare homes. You could start by finding out if there’s a route you can help with while you travel from office to home in the evenings.
Here’s a story from a young father who travelled to Batangas City, Philippines, on CapitaLand’s 23rd International Volunteer Expedition. Along with close to 80 other staff volunteers, he helped build homes for 20 underprivileged families.
At the end of such experiences, the takeaway may not just be the number of physical structures built. It is likely to be an emotional journey as well, tugging at the heartstrings of not just the ones who have helped, but the ones who have been helped.
From making new friends (young and old) to learning more about a new culture, it’s an eye-opening experience.
"I hope my children will grow up to be filial, compassionate and selfless. And by lending a helping hand to those in need, that every volunteering experience will fill our own home with love."
More recently in September, 42 staff volunteers spent 3 days at the CapitaLand Xingfuzhilu Hope School in Chifeng, Inner Mongolia. With help from the students and school principals, volunteers completed the ‘Tree of Hope’ wall mural and refurbished the school while learning more about one another’s way of life. Here’re some of the CapitaLand staff volunteers.
“It’s a lifetime experience and I absolutely loved it – the culture, the people, and teaching the children. When I see their sparkling eyes and smiles, it touches my heart.”
"It was an eye-opening experience for me. I've been involved in relief work and soup kitchens but this is the first time I'm travelling overseas to do community work. The students are very grateful and appreciative of the little things we did for them. Everyone's from different backgrounds and we're united in our cause. It feels really special."
So find a cause you are passionate about and don’t be afraid to welcome new experiences.
Sharing your skills
Passing on your knowledge and skills that you have is a meaningful way to help others improve and leave a positive mark on the community. Every child, regardless of their family’s financial status, should be given an equal opportunity to learn and excel.
Mentorship and skills-based giving is becoming increasingly popular as businesses start to align their corporate giving initiatives with their expertise.
This year, CapitaLand’s philanthropic arm, CapitaLand Hope Foundation organised a three-month mentorship for 70 secondary school students from low-income families through its CapitaLand Young Architect Programme. These aspiring architects developed ideas for a diverse range of communal spaces, including void decks, pavilions for senior citizens and youth centres. 4 of these students were selected for a once-in-a-lifetime immersion programme from 4-12 Dec.
The Touch Community Services’ Leadership and Mentoring Programme also gives volunteers the chance to impart their skills as they guide youths to become active contributors and leaders in our community. The meaningful lesson that can be gleaned from this experience is that everyone and anyone can create a positive impact.
Art for a good cause
Unwanted lipsticks got a new lease of life as Raffles City Singapore collaborated with Very Special Arts (VSA) Singapore to turn daily objects into works of art and bring the arts closer to the public.
Drawing inspiration from lotus flowers floating above muddy waters to symbolise purity of the body, speech and mind, Cultural Medallion recipient Ms Chng Seok Tin created a one-of-its-kind art installation using lipsticks donated by the public. Titled “No Indecent Assault In Speech” or “非礼勿言” in Chinese, the artwork aims to convey the message “do good deeds, speak good words and think good thoughts”.
At the unveiling of the installation, CapitaLand Hope Foundation also presented a S$100,000 donation to VSA Singapore to improve the learning environment for children with special needs and help them gain access to arts programmes.
If you have a passion for art and you’re keen to learn more with these extraordinary students, sign up as a volunteer and assist in art classes or holiday workshops.
Start your own fundraiser
If you’ve already made donations but want to do more for the less fortunate, you can even start your own fundraiser. Platforms like giving.sg under the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) offer the opportunity for anyone to raise funds for charities that have listed themselves on the site. In just a few simple steps, you will be ready to garner support for your chosen cause.
Charities partner corporates and individuals to raise the money they need to help the beneficiaries they work with. They do so not just to raise funds, but also to raise awareness. CapitaLand’s inaugural Giving Marketplace provided a platform for charities and social enterprises to share their causes and offer their products, including handmade gifts and cookies, to staff and tenants of CapitaLand.
How to save a life
Some 30,000 patients rely on donations to the blood banks every year and yet the number of young donors in Singapore is decreasing. And as our population ages, the demand for donors will also increase. So step up and contribute - it really doesn’t take much of your time and effort at all!
Before you head off to the next blood donation centre, there are a few things you need to be aware of. Donors must:
Be between 16 and 60 years old
Weigh at least 45 kg
Be in general good health
Not have had any symptoms of illness for at least 1 week
Not have had fever in the last 3 weeks
Have a haemoglobin level of at least 12.5 g/dl (don’t worry, they’ll check this before you donate)
The collective effort of everyone within a community or an organisation can make a huge difference. As such, NVPC is calling out to Singapore-based large enterprises and SMEs to step forward and take a more active role in corporate giving and philanthropy initiatives in our community.
To empower businesses to give better and more holistically, NVPC started the ‘Company of Good’, equipping corporate companies to develop or refine their corporate giving strategy and connect them with like-minded partners. To up the ante, this year, NVPC recognised over 40 Singapore-based companies as Champions of Good for being an exemplary leader and multiplier of corporate giving in Singapore, and CapitaLand was among them.
So choose to make a difference. Not just this holiday season, but also in the coming year.