Besides feasting with friends and hosting gatherings to catch up with loved ones, Christmas is a time when the spirit of giving reigns. This year, why not give something else a little more special? Volunteering — giving your time and energy to a good cause — is one way we can give back to society. Spread some Christmas cheer and warmth by teaming up as a family to volunteer in Singapore this season. Support some of these local causes below, and feel good while you do good!
DELIVER FOOD TO WARM THE BELLY AND HEART
1. YWCA’s Meals-on-Wheels
The Young Women’s Christian Association’s (YWCA) Meals-on-Wheels programme first began to help those who struggled to fall asleep due to hunger pangs. The programme helps three core groups. Firstly, children aged 5 to 12 years old from low-income families. Next, seniors above 60 years old who are frail and homebound. Lastly, physically or mentally disabled individuals aged 13 to 59 years old.
Free meals, all of which are Halal-certified, are delivered to these beneficiaries directly or to YWCA’s partner agencies for distribution. Volunteers can help deliver to areas such as Chinatown, Tiong Bahru, Redhill, Queenstown, and Commonwealth.
More details at www.ywca.org.sg
2. Touch Community Services Meals-On-Wheels
While we gather for meals with loved ones this Christmas, some seniors in Singapore aren’t as blessed. Those living alone may not be able to leave the house for food due to mobility issues or medical conditions. Touch Community Services’ Meals-on-Wheels programme helps home-bound seniors by delivering meals to them. This allows them to live independently as much as possible, while also providing them with opportunities for daily social interaction.
Volunteers can help with meal deliveries from 9.30am – 12.30pm and 3.30pm – 6.30pm, especially on weekdays. Distribution locations include Bukit Batok, Toa Payoh, Whampoa, Bendemeer, Geylang Bahru, Potong Pasir, Bishan, Ang Mo Kio, and Jurong. Both car owners/drivers and delivery personnel are needed. Duties involve reporting to the Touch Community Services office to collect the food, and helping to drive or working as a runner to deliver food to seniors along a designated route.
More details at www.touch.org.sg
DONATE YOUR PRELOVED ITEMS
Do you have used phones, bags, or shoes that are still in good condition? Why not donate them during this season of giving? ItsRainingRaincoats is a charity that aims to foster ties and integrate migrant workers into the community. Apart from encouraging interaction between Singaporeans and transient workers through various activities, such as having meals together or visiting local attractions, the charity also matches workers to items that they need.
ItsRainingRaincoats recently opened a shop, InspIRRe, which allows migrant workers to pick up bags, fans, and shoes for free. You can drop off items, including men’s clothes, card games, and electronic gadgets year-round, or at the Christmas Drive 2022. Other ways to volunteer include donating to their work or helping to man their shop.
More details at www.itsrainingraincoats.com
(See also: 17 Places to Donate Books and More in Singapore)
GIVE BACK TO MOTHER NATURE AND HER CREATURES
4. Cat Welfare Society
Have a meowy Christmas with some furry friends at the Cat Welfare Society! Its aims include educating the public on sustainable and humane management of cats in Singapore through various programmes. The organisation relies heavily on volunteer support, such as in areas of advocacy, sterilisation, mediation, and educational outreach programmes.
If you enjoy hanging out with the local kitties in your neighbourhood, consider being a Community Cat Caregiver or Mediator. Care for cats in your community by ensuring they are fed and sterilised. If you prefer a more behind-the-scenes role, there are various administrative and managerial roles which require filling as well. Otherwise, go on a mini shopping spree of all things cat-related at their online shop. Proceeds fund the Cat Welfare Society’s endeavours.
More details at www.catwelfare.org
5. Action for Singapore Dogs
Join the Paw Patrol at Action for Singapore Dogs to hang out with man’s best friend while doing good. The kids begging for a puppy this Christmas? Let them experience being a dog owner for an hour or two first. You can walk the shelter dogs to ensure they get their daily dose of sunshine and fun.
There are more volunteer opportunities at ASD’s Adoption and Rescue Centre. There, you can help maintain the centre, clean enclosures, and assist with training dogs too. Alternatively, provide logistical or administrative support, from designing educational pamphlets to helping to ferry dogs to vet clinics and foster homes if you drive.
More details at www.asdsingapore.com
6. Trash Hero Singapore
Part of an initiative by a Swiss non-profit organisation, Trash Hero World has various networks across the globe, with Singapore being one of them. Its aim is to bring communities together to clean and reduce waste.
The Singapore arm focuses on cleaning up parks and beaches, and you will find the event list on Facebook. The best thing is that you can simply turn up at the next event if you wish to help! There are no sign-up costs or registrations required to indicate your interest to participate.
More details at www.trashhero.org
7. Riding for the Disabled Association Singapore
Giddy up and help out at the Riding for the Disabled Association Singapore. Here, ponies and horses are specially trained to provide horse-riding therapy sessions to individuals who are differently abled. As training for side-walkers is provided, you will be glad to know that no experience with horse-riding is needed.
Besides walking alongside the horses during therapy sessions, you can also help with cleaning and maintaining the stables. Other administrative duties include marketing and fundraising efforts, or organising events. Volunteers must be at least 16 years old, and volunteers who can commit for at least one riding therapy term (once a week for 10 consecutive weeks) are preferred.
More details at www.rdasingapore.org
CARE FOR THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF OUR COMMUNITIES
8. Ronald McDonald House Charities Singapore
Make a child smile with a Happy Meal with Ronald McDonald House Charities. The registed charity seeks to improve the health and well-being of children in Singapore. They believe that family support and love for a hospitalised child makes the biggest difference in their journey toward recovery. The charity provides rest areas and family rooms where caregivers can stay over at the hospital and take a break from the wards respectively. Volunteers help man these rest areas at the National University Hospital and Institute of Mental Health.
Volunteer programmes also include the RMHC Happy Wheels Cart, which offers snacks to children and their caregivers in hospital. Children undergoing chemotherapy for cancer and need to fast are also given the RMHC Paediatric Happy Snack Packs. It’s a way to cheer them up as they undergo treatment.
More details at www.rmhc.sg
9. Make-A-Wish Singapore
Get fit and do good trying? Santa Race for Wishes, organised by Make-A-Wish Singapore, is back as a virtual event in 2022. More excitingly, there’s a new category you can take part in — cycling! The foundation fulfils wishes of critically-ill children and helps supports them and their families. This year, the target is to accumulate a total of 40,075 km across different race categories. All registration and donation proceeds go to Make-A-Wish Singapore.
While you don’t need to be #fitspo material to join the race, you might be looking for other ways to help. In this case, consider volunteering as a wish granter to help fulfil a child’s dream.
More details at www.makeawish.org.sg
10. Silver Ribbon Singapore
COVID-19 has loomed over our heads for close to three years now, and discussions around mental health and its importance have thankfully become more common in our society. However, it is not always easy to seek help for mental health due to stigma or misgivings about mental illnesses. Silver Ribbon Singapore aims to change negative perceptions of mental illness through organising outreach events and promoting local mental health literacy in communities. It also helps individuals with mental illness integrate into society, while encouraging them to speak out and seek help bravely.
The organisation plans various programmes for schools, communities, and workplaces to advocate for mental health and wellness. Volunteer with Silver Ribbon to contribute your skills, whether it’s graphic design or facilitating events.
More details at www.silverribbonsingapore.com
10 Ways You Can Volunteer in Singapore this Christmas
As we spread the Christmas joy and spirit to others this season, do remember to keep your well-being in mind too. And wherever possible, do make it a family affair. Volunteering is a great way for kids to experience the true meaning of Christmas.
This article first appeared on Homage, an award-winning personal care solution that provides on-demand holistic home and community-based caregiving and medical services to seniors and adults, allowing them to age and recover with grace, control, and dignity.
Featured image: Liza Summer