Christmas comes early for over 40,000 beneficiaries of the Boy's Brigade Share-a-Gift

The Boys' Brigade Share-a-Gift 2013 wrapped up on Wednesday, bringing some Christmas cheer to 40,691 beneficiaries. The annual project hit its highest target since it was started in 1988, at the time collecting 7,000 gifts for the less fortunate. Last year, it reached out to over 30,000 beneficiaries.

At the closing ceremony at the Boys' Brigade Headquarters, their executive director Desmond Koh said they initially worried whether they could handle the logistics of packing and delivering items for 40,000. But public response was quick and robust: over 5,000 members of the public volunteered to deliver items to beneficiaries all over the island this year, and thousands more joined in packing items. He said the warm response could be due to Share-a-Gift being more active on social media such as Facebook, helping them garner more support and awareness.

Mr Koh added that while donations usually pick up near the end of the project, donations had been pouring in since the project started on Nov 20. By the project's mid-point, they had already received 42 per cent of the donations needed - about twice the amount last year.

CEO of NTUC FairPrice Singapore Seah Kian Peng said NTUC has tried making it easier for Singaporeans to contribute to help meet the target. Collection boxes are available at some of their FairPrice outlets and for the fifth year running, NTUC has also worked with the Boys' Brigade to allow the public to make online donations of food and household hampers, priced at $30 and $50. The online portal will remain open till the end of the year.

Members of the public can choose to donate general food and household items or fulfil specific wishes made by Share-a-Gift beneficiaries by gifting them requested items. This year, some 30,000 beneficiaries received general hampers containing 13 items, including cooking oil and rice, while over 8,000 beneficiaries had specific wishes, like school bags and health products, fulfilled.