In this season of Christmas and thanksgiving, I had organised a community service and cohesion day with my team to volunteer at Willing Hearts, a non-denominational and non-affiliated soup kitchen on 22 December 2015. Every day, Willing Hearts prepares, cooks and distributes about 5,000 meals to the low-income families, disabled and elderly. We reported at 5.30am, opening cans of baked beans, seasoning the pumpkins, frying fish filets and trying to scoop equal portions of cooked food into numerous lunch boxes for the beneficiaries. There were other groups of volunteers and families, coming at different timing to help out. My colleague and I used our vehicles to deliver the packet lunches to beneficiaries living in Chinatown, Choa Chu Kang and Jurong areas. We met affable and appreciative elderly who were thankful of our service and one of them was living alone, in a studio apartment. He has difficulty in walking due to stroke, and is divorced and has not met his son for about a decade. Fortunately, his daughter still visits him occasionally and bought him the necessities. That experience deepened my understanding and compassion towards people who are in need, and also reminded me to give thanks to my family and friends who are with me.
Another meaningful experience was arranging a tour to River Safari for the aged living in Kheng Chiu Happy Lodge with my friends. Each of us sponsored an elderly and together, we chartered a bus for them to River Safari. Many of the elderly do not get the chance to travel out of the lodge unless volunteer groups bring them out. A few of them are single and some are abandoned by their children. They were cordial and joyful during the journey and sightseeing of various animals. Unfortunately, Kai Kai and Jia Jia were sleeping when we were there. At the end, the elderly were quite reluctant to depart from us, asking us whether we could stay longer and when we are coming again. Both volunteering experiences fostered stronger bonds among us and allowed us to express the values of love and kindness to others. Thus I encourage you to serve and bring joy to others, in return, serving and develop ourselves.