Virus Vigilantes: Championing causes with toys and T-shirts

Some of the ways that Singapore's virus vigilantes are looking out for those around them. PHOTOS: JELLYCAT SG, KINETIC SINGAPORE, #SGPAYITFORWARD, PROJECT KEEN

SINGAPORE - From selling soft toys and designing T-shirts to raise funds for migrant workers to an app and free online art therapy to promote mental health, here are 10 ways Singapore's virus vigilantes are looking out for those around them.

1. FREE ONLINE ART THERAPY

Non-profit organisation The Red Pencil (Singapore) has been hosting free online art therapy sessions for about 40 people. The sessions started on April 23 and runs till tomorrow (May 2).

During the 90-minute sessions, participants are guided through activities like coffee painting and creating imaginative self-portraits by art therapist and programme coordinator Yoko Choi.

When the organisation announced the first batch of classes via its social media pages and mailing list on April 21, slots filled up so quickly it had to close registration within 30 minutes.

It is planning a second batch of 11 sessions, which will be unveiled in the first week of this month. Sessions are free, but participants can support The Red Pencil (Singapore) by making a donation at https://bit.ly/give2redpencil.

2. SOFT TOYS TO RAISE FUNDS FOR MIGRANT WORKERS

PHOTO: JELLYCAT SG

Soft toy company Jellycat SG has set up an online store to sell items from its A Blast From The Past range, which includes llamas, cats and even alien birds called Pom Poms.

The e-shop was launched on May 1 and will run till July 30, or until stocks are sold out.

All sales proceeds go to non-profit organisation Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2), which advocates equitable treatment of migrant workers.

Ms Vanessa Martin, managing director of Jellycat SG, says: "This feels like the right thing to do. While our products cannot be used to pay for public transport or a meal, we can use them to drive donations for a cause."

3. APP TO FIGHT SOCIAL ISOLATION

PHOTO: DAILY PULSE

The circuit breaker can impact mental health, especially for those who live alone.

On Wednesday (April 27), mobile micro-learning platform Gnowbe launched an app called Daily Pulse, with the objective of combating social isolation and improving mental health.

It aims to connect people through daily 10-minute interactive sessions, which are curated by celebrities and influencers such as actor Nat Ho and Ms Violet Lim, chief executive of dating agency Lunch Actually.

The curators encourage participants to take part in activities such as sharing a picture of a favourite memory or creating a dance challenge.

Ms So-Young Kang, founder and CEO of Gnowbe, says: "We are doing this to make people laugh and smile, to combat social isolation and (facilitate) authentic connection with others."

4. THANK DELIVERY WORKERS CONTACTLESSLY

PHOTOS: KINETIC SINGAPORE

Just because delivery is contactless these days does not mean you cannot show appreciation for the workers.

On April 17, advertising agency Kinetic Singapore started a #ThankYouDeliveryHeroes poster campaign, where people can print out posters and stick it at their doors to thank delivery workers.

Co-founder and creative director Pann Lim says: "While we're staying in and staying safe, our delivery heroes are out and about. And now with contactless delivery, we sometimes don't even get to say 'thank you'.

"We want to show our appreciation for delivery workers and hopefully get as many people as we can to do so too."

The posters can be downloaded at the website.

5. MINDFULNESS DURING CIRCUIT BREAKER

PHOTO: ZYRUP

It is a stressful period, but there are groups with initiatives to help people stay anchored during the circuit breaker.

For instance, youth magazine Zyrup launched Mindful Minutes on April 19 - a series on Instagram Live that aims to raise awareness of mental wellness and encourage self-care among young Singaporeans.

Each episode features self-care tips, a conversation with personalities such as actress Joanna Theng and even self-care package giveaways. More than 2,000 people have viewed the series.

Zyrup founder Joel Lim says it is rewarding to "be a source of positivity during this period".

6. CARE PACKS FOR VULNERABLE COMMUNITIES

PHOTO: #SGPAYITFORWARD

For $25, you can do your part to support fellow Singaporeans through Covid-19. Ground-up initiative #SGPaysItForward encourages Singaporeans to purchase care packs which are distributed to vulnerable communities.

Launched on April 22, the initiative is led by logistics provider Ninja Van and production company Night Owl Cinematics. They aim to send 100,000 care packs to groups including migrant workers, low-income families and senior citizens.

The packs, available at the website, include surgical masks, hand sanitisers and disinfectant.

Ms Wu Ying Ying, regional head of communications at Ninja Van, says: "This collective effort allows us to contribute on a scale that none of us could have done individually. (We hope to enforce the message that) Singaporeans care and that we are all in this together."

7. T-SHIRTS TO SUPPORT MIGRANT WORKERS

PHOTO: PROJECT KEEN

Four 19-year-old students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic's School of Design & Environment put their skills to good use, designing T-shirts to raise funds for migrant workers.

Clarice Chua, Lam Xin Yi, Basil Wee and Cynthia Yap started Project Keen on April 18 and have sold more than 300 T-shirts since.

The proceeds, along with donations from the public, will go to the Migrant Workers' Centre, a non-governmental organisation championing fair employment practices and the well-being of migrant workers.

To pre-order the T-shirts, go to the online form.

8. SPREAD CHEER WITH BEER

PHOTO: TIGER BEER

Toast to #SupportOurStreets, a fund-raising campaign for local food and beverage businesses by home-grown beer brand Tiger Beer.

It launched the campaign on April 17, with a contribution of $100,000, and will give away digital drink vouchers - redeemable for two Tiger beers - for every $10 donation made by members of the public.

So far, it has raised more than $118,000, which will go to participating businesses including Jack's Place and London Fat Duck.

You can contribute at the Tiger Beer website.

9. MEALS THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE

DBS Bank announced on April 16 that it is partnering non-profit organisations The Food Bank Singapore and ItsRainingRaincoats to sponsor meals for vulnerable communities.

All donations to Feed The City - DBS Edition will go to low-income households and the elderly, while donations to Project Belanja will help migrant workers.

The bank kicked off the campaign by contributing 300,000 meals to the campaigns. It is also matching public donations dollar-for-dollar up to $500,000 across both campaigns.

To support the local food-and-beverage sector, all meals for Feed The City will be purchased from 15 local businesses, such as the Koufu Group and the Wee Nam Kee chicken rice chain.

10. RAISE FUNDS FOR INDONESIAN HEALTHCARE WORKS

PHOTO: BRAVE THE FRONT

Twelve local sustainable businesses like Wellness Within and Style Cat have teamed up to crowdfund for healthcare workers in Indonesia.

The Brave The Front campaign was initiated by Ms Stephanie Pandji, 33, management consultant and the founder of The Handmade Romantics, a slow-fashion brand that works with traditional craftsmen and women in rural Indonesia.

Since April 12, the campaign has raised more than $4,000, which will be donated to non-profit organisation doctorShare for the purchase of medical personal protective equipment.

To thank the public for their support, every $5 donated will give donors a chance to win one of 10 hampers each worth more than $100. They come with item such as organic cotton T-shirts and blooming tea sets contributed by the 12 Singapore businesses.

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