The true spirit of Christmas is the spirit of giving. Impart this value to your children with these 11 ways to help others this season or all year round, as a family.
With Christmas being so commercialised, it’s easy to get caught up with buying gifts for our loved ones (and ourselves) at sales islandwide. But what about those who are not as well off as us to afford lavish gifts? What about the abandoned elderly who have no one to call their own? And what about the little ones who are fighting a battle with a life-threatening illness? Wouldn’t it be heartwarming if you and your family could be the reason for their smiles this Christmas?
In the spirit of Christmas giving, we’ve searched for ways that you and your children can help someone in need this festive season. Whether it’s a small charitable purchase or putting aside a few hours of your time on a weekend, you’re bound to find something suitable for your family on our list of 11 ways to give back to society (some can be done at any time of the year)!
1. Donate to The Boys’ Brigade’s Share-a-Gift Charity Drive
The Boys’ Brigade Share-a-Gift project is one of the largest year-end charity drives in Singapore. Did you know that the organisation is hoping to reach out to 38,317 beneficiaries this year? These include institutions which aid the elderly, children, and needy families, as well as those with special needs. Mums and dads can use this as an opportunity to bond with their children while completing some Christmas giving! Here’s what you can do:
- Buy a gift to grant a specific wish for a beneficiary (25 November – 19 December)
- Pick out food items to pack into Food Hampers while getting your grocery shopping done (25 November – 19 December)
- Deliver the Food Hampers personally to the beneficiaries (5 – 31 December)
This is a great way for parents to lead by example while teaching little ones the importance of sharing and giving. Get more details at the Boys’ Brigade website.
2. Support Underprivileged Children Worldwide by Purchasing a Christmas Gift at IKEA
The IKEA Foundation will donate one Euro (SGD $1.50) to fund global projects by partner non-profit organisations for every baby or children’s toy, book, game, art and craft or play furniture sold at both its Alexandra and Tampines stores. For the third year running, the Swedish furniture giant will also be running its Give Twice Campaign — which allows customers to buy and donate any baby or children’s product at either of the stores! So if you still haven’t got around to shopping for the toddlers on your gifting list, why not pop into an IKEA store for Christmas shopping this weekend? You’ll be helping to make a difference in the lives of poverty-stricken children worldwide.
When: 20 November – 24 December 2016
Time: 10am to 11pm
Where: IKEA Alexandra, 317 Alexandra Road, S159965 & IKEA Tampines, 60 Tampines North Drive 2, S528764
(See also: Buy Gifts That Give Back This Christmas!)
3. Celebrate This Christmas with The Joy of UNIQLO
Revel in the spirit of Christmas giving with UNIQLO’s Joy of Giving campaign! The Japanese clothing label is collaborating with local artist Peter Zhuo, also known as ‘Peter Draw’ (above), to raise funds for The Business Times’ Budding Artist Fund (BT BAF), managed by The RICE Company Ltd. And all you have to do it buy a T-shirt at UNIQLO and you can do it using an app on your phone! Here’s how. Use UNIQLO’s UTme! customised t-shirt printing service (which has 10 special illustrations including original works and festive designs by Peter) to select your favourite design and create your very own UNIQLO T-shirt. All proceeds from the sales of Peter Draw’s UTme! designs will go to BT BAF, which provides kids and youth from disadvantaged backgrounds with opportunities to hone their artistic talent.
When: 1 – 31 December 2016
Time: 11am to 10pm
Where: UNIQLO Bugis+, 201 Victoria Street, Bugis Junction, S188067
4. Start your Back-to-School Shopping Early with POPULAR!
One of the greatest joys of the festive season has definitely got to be seeing the smiles on the faces of cherubic little ones and that’s exactly what POPULAR is aiming to do this year-end. With the POP Kids School Bag Trade-In Campaign, POPULAR will be donating pre-loved backpacks to the Salvation Army. Not only will this kind gesture help financially challenged families, it will also let you educate your kids on giving back to the community. POPULAR is also launching its latest POP Kids Ergo+ Climber Ergonomic Bag this season. For every bag sold, the bookstore will be giving $2 to the Salvation Army. You’ll also get a $10 discount when you trade-in your pre-loved POP Kids school bag. If junior needs a new backpack for 2017, you know where to shop for it!
When: now till 15 January 2017
Where: POPULAR outlets
How much: from $109 (POP Kids Ergo+ Climber Ergonomic Bag)
5. Be a Bellringer with The Salvation Army’s Christmas Kettling project
The Salvation Army’s signature holiday fundraiser is back this year!Drop a donation into the kettle pot and get a Salvation Army stained glass series calendar card (there are six different designs to collect). Better still, why not sign yourself and your kids up to be bellringers? Yes, children are welcome to come on board to help. So give them their first chance to champion a cause. You can register online or by telephone.
When: 26 November – 24 December 2016
Where: Tangs Orchard, ION, Raffles City, The Centrepoint, Nex, Bugis Junction, Far East Plaza, Tiong Bahru Plaza, AMK Hub and HDB Hub
Phone: 6452 4093
6. Feed The Needy by Volunteering at Willing Hearts’ Soup Kitchen
Willing Hearts, a secular, non-affiliated charity, operates a soup kitchen that churns out about 5,000 meals daily to over 40 locations islandwide 365 days a year. The elderly, the disabled, low-income families and migrant workers benefit from their goodwill. When you volunteer at Willing Hearts’ soup kitchen, you’ll be assisting with the preparation of ingredients, packing of lunch boxes, cleaning, washing and other kitchen related tasks. Are kids welcome to be volunteers? Most definitely. The staff of Willing Hearts have seen children as young as five volunteering alongside their parents. Little hands can carry out simple tasks like pasting labels on lunch boxes. It just goes to show that you’re never too young to be a volunteer! We think it’s a stepping stone to educate young minds on preventing food wastage, especially when many stomachs going hungry out there.
Where: 11 Jalan Ubi Block 6, #01-51, Kembangan – Chai Chee Community Hub, S409074
Phone: 6476 5822
7. Give to Blessings in a Bags’ ‘Beyond Awesome’ Donation Drive
Blessings in A Bag connects those who have with those who need. Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? But has it ever occured to you that the common everyday items which you may be taking for granted could be treasure for someone else? If you have things at home that match those on their current ‘Beyond Awesome’ Donation Drive list, get in touch to find out where you can drop them off. Don’t have any? Fret not. Blessings in A Bag also accepts gift cards from retailers like IKEA, Book Depository, Amazon, and Toys R Us, so you can purchase one of those to donate as well!
8. Part with Some Pocket Money to Fulfill World Vision’s Goal
Children in Singapore generally lead sheltered lives. Lack of access to education, clean water, sanitation, and nutrition is something our kids are unfamiliar with. Help change that by telling your little ones about children like them who suffer from poverty, malnutrition and injustice in nearly 100 nations worldwide. World Vision is a Christian relief organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to tackle the causes of poverty and injustice. You can help by sending your love to the world’s neediest children with carefully handpicked gifts or making a donation that will go towards providing a child with water, food, sanitation and education. Want to go a step further? Sponsor a child. For just SGD $45 a month you can provide a little one with basic needs.
9.Deliver Food to The Elderly with ‘Meals-on-Wheels’
TOUCH Home Care’s Meals-on-Wheels delivers food to senior citizens who live alone. Car owners and drivers are needed to collect pre-packed food and drive along a designated route to deliver the packages. Each delivery route requires a driver and a helper, so why not let junior be your helper or just let him tag along on your rounds (watch and learn, yeah)? If you’re free from 9.30am to 12.30pm or 3.30pm to 6.30pm, preferably once a week on weekdays or once a month on weekends, TOUCH Home Care wants you! Areas of delivery include Bukit Batok, Toa Payoh, Whampoa, Bendemeer, Geylang Bahru, Potong Pasir, Bishan, Ang Mo Kio and Jurong.
10. Lead a Fundraiser at School to Make a Child’s Wish Come True
To date, Make-A-Wish-Foundation has granted the wishes of 1,200 (and counting) children suffering from a life-threatening illness. Whether you’re an individual trying to spread a little cheer or an organisation looking for a meaningful way to give back to the community, there’s definitely a way you can help make a child’s day. This is also another great chance for junior to consider setting aside part of his pocket money for! How else can school-going children help out? Let the teachers at your child’s school know of this initiative and work out a customised programme suitable for the age and profile of the students. It can be a bake sale, a car wash, or even a simple flag day. Money raised from the fundraiser will go towards fulfilling a child’s dream. Your child can also help to lead the fundraiser at his school to get a taste of leadership while making wishes come true!
11. Give Away Pre-loved Books, Toys & Stationery to Grab Singapore’s #DeliveringHappyness
Do your kids own enough books, toys and stationery items to start a shop? If you’re trying to reduce clutter at home, why not give them away for a good cause (if they’re in prime condition) instead of chucking them into the bin? Your generosity could help brighten the lives of underprivileged children in Southeast Asia. Grab Singapore’s #DeliveringHappyness donation drive will be gathering children’s books, toys and stationery to send off to the Singapore Red Cross, The Salvation Army and the Children’s Wishing Well this Christmas.
Here’s how to help. First, download the Grab app for free from the Google Play Store or App Store and activate your account. Next, prepare five items or more that are suitable for little ones aged four to 12 years. Feel free to include a heartfelt message. Select the Delivering Happyness icon on the app, confirm your pick-up location, and choose the drop-off point that’s closest to where you are. Tap on “Book”, and a driver will come by to pick up your donations – no charges involved!
When: 12 – 24 December 2016
Time: 10am to 6pm daily