30 Christmas trees tell stories of needy families at Marina Bay

Some of the 30 ChariTrees featuring inspiring family stories lining the Marina Bay waterfront promenade.
Some of the 30 ChariTrees featuring inspiring family stories lining the Marina Bay waterfront promenade.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Some of the 30 ChariTrees featuring inspiring family stories lining the Marina Bay waterfront promenade.
Some of the 30 ChariTrees featuring inspiring family stories lining the Marina Bay waterfront promenade.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Some of the 30 ChariTrees featuring inspiring family stories lining the Marina Bay waterfront promenade.
Some of the 30 ChariTrees featuring inspiring family stories lining the Marina Bay waterfront promenade.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Some of the 30 ChariTrees featuring inspiring family stories lining the Marina Bay waterfront promenade.
Some of the 30 ChariTrees featuring inspiring family stories lining the Marina Bay waterfront promenade.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Some of the 30 ChariTrees featuring inspiring family stories lining the Marina Bay waterfront promenade.
Some of the 30 ChariTrees featuring inspiring family stories lining the Marina Bay waterfront promenade.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - Thirty Christmas trees featuring the stories of underprivileged families were lit up on Friday evening along the Marina Bay waterfront.

The ChariTrees, which will line the promenade for six weeks, have raised $200,000 for disadvantaged families this year.

The fundraiser, now in its fifth year, is organised by Touch Community Services, Community Chest and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

Jalan Besar MP, Dr Lily Neo, officiated the light-up of the trees, which have the stories of families served by Touch and Community Chest printed on their bases.

The stories include those of beneficaries such as Madam Chua Kwee Lan, 48, who has been bedridden for 14 years after a fall left her paralysed. Touch Home Care helped her family with home care services and also encouraged her through physiotherapy to overcome her phobia of getting out of bed.

Another beneficiary, 75-year-old Leo Kok Ong, struggled with the medical bills incurred from caring for his intellectually challenged wife and his son, who has cerebral palsy. Assistance from Fei Yue Family Service Centre provided the family with counselling sessions and food rations, as well as access to various interventions for Mr Leo's son.

Touch executive director Eugene Seow said: "Through the touching experiences of these families, we hope that visitors to ChariTrees @ Marina Bay will be inspired by the resilience and determination of these families to overcome challenges and to rise above their circumstances."

ChariTrees @ Marina Bay was first held in 2011 to remind the community of the needy during the festive season. To date, the initiative has raised some $1.3 million.

oliviaho@sph.com.sg