SINGAPORE - When Singaporean socialite Kim Lim spoke to fellow volunteers from a local charity group, she was dismayed by the number of scammers using the coronavirus outbreak to exploit others.
Several volunteers had ordered hand sanitisers and masks online only to receive packages of "liquids with no anti-bacterial functions" and "pieces of paper".
As Lim knew that senior citizens were especially vulnerable to illness yet may not be able to obtain such protective items, she began thinking of ways to help.
The 28-year-old managed to secure some 1,000 hand sanitisers from suppliers of her healthcare company Illumia Medical and Therapeutics.
She gathered a team of around 30 staff members and close friends to pack the hand sanitisers with wet wipes, Dettol soap bottles, biscuits and a pamphlet containing useful information on the coronavirus and hygiene tips.
They rose early on Sunday (Feb 23) to distribute the packages to senior citizens living in the south and eastern parts of Singapore, covering about 900 Housing Board units in neighbourhoods such as Redhill, Telok Blangah and Jalan Besar, from 7am to 6pm.
"Most were appreciative and happy to see a friendly face," said Ms Lim, adding that she was just glad to be doing something for the elderly, whom she has a "soft spot" for.
For more than 15 years, she has volunteered with different organisations to distribute food hampers and other essentials to them every few months.
"Usually, we ask charity groups what they need most before going, and visit the units they identify for us," said Ms Lim. As a precautionary measure, the distribution was "contactless", with the volunteers geared up in safety goggles, masks and gloves.
Other celebrities like homegrown actress Rui En have also tried to do their part.
Last week, she mobilised her fanclub RBKD to send 2,150 care packages to healthcare workers in Singapore, thanking them for their efforts to fight the virus.
The packages included bottles of water, muesli bars, hand cream, gel pads for their feet, and revitalising face and eye masks. The items cost $88,000 in total and were sponsored by brands like cosmetics maker L'Oreal Paris Singapore and Kyusoku Jikan, which specialises in leg care products, from Lion Corporation Singapore, according to a Facebook post by the fanclub on Friday (Feb 21).
Besides medical personnel, cleaners working at Singapore General Hospital, Tan Tock Seng Hospital and the National Centre for Infectious Diseases also received the care packages.