Join Giving Week events and give for a good cause

Week-long initiative aims to boost charities, volunteerism during festive period

From writing postcards to adults who are facing a troubling time to kayaking while cleaning up Singapore's rivers, residents have a plethora of activities to choose from - and for a good cause.

Tied to issues such as the environment, seniors and disability, and with the aim of educating Singaporeans on charity and volunteerism, the events are part of a national movement called Giving Week, which started yesterday, and will run until Monday.

National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) chief executive Melissa Kwee said: "Giving connects people and bonds communities regardless of age, gender or background...

"Through Giving Week, we hope to rally Singapore under a common cause to give back to society during this festive season."

During Giving Week, companies, non-profit groups and individuals can come together to support a charity of their choice by donating, volunteering or fund raising.

Yesterday, for instance, patrons of Timbre, a chain of food and drink outlets, could round up their bills to the nearest $10 and donate the difference to young patients who are in need of financial aid.

Participants at a "human library" event "read" interesting people - including a former drug addict - who were acting as "books". The aim was to remove social barriers and encourage empathy.

Giving Week, which last year was expanded from an earlier initiative called Giving Tuesday into a week-long affair, is being held for the second time by NVPC this year.

Last year, more than $8 million was raised in December. NVPC said it was a 60 per cent increase compared with the funds raised in December 2014.

Today, NVPC and the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) are also launching another initiative called Singapore Cares, which will bring together companies, social service organisations, schools and the Government to promote volunteering and social causes.

Information on volunteering opportunities across partnering organisations, and those wanting to donate, can be found at www.giving.sg

NCSS assistant chief executive Ng Ling Ling said organisations in the social service sector need a steady pipeline of volunteers.

She said: "It needs organised groups, from families, schools, companies and grassroots organisations, who can commit time and service for a longer and regular period. NCSS will coordinate and structure more group volunteering opportunities by causes to serve these needs."

•For more information on Giving Week activities, visit www.givingweek.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2016, with the headline 'Join Giving Week events and give for a good cause'. Print Edition | Subscribe