Causes Week 2020: Even as she deals with losing loved ones, she is helping others in mourning

Causes Week runs this year from Dec 20 to 25. It shines a light on various individuals and groups, and shows how they are making a difference through their chosen causes within the community.

A Light in the Night founder Florence Fong passing one of her care packs to a representative from HCA Hospice Care.
A Light in the Night founder Florence Fong passing one of her care packs to a representative from HCA Hospice Care.PHOTO: A LIGHT IN THE NIGHT

SINGAPORE - In just one year, Ms Florence Fong lost several loved ones.

Besides the deaths of her grandmother and boyfriend, the former medical social worker had to deal with losing a friend to cancer and seeing two other friends lose their children to congenital health conditions.

Overwhelmed, Ms Fong sought therapy to cope with her deep sorrow.

"It was hard for me to verbalise my grief. I did not know how to use my words to express what I was feeling. Over time, I was able to heal and I am still in the process of recovering," said the 35-year-old.

The spike in Covid-19 cases which led to the circuit breaker disrupted Ms Fong's in-person therapy sessions.

That difficult period spurred her to start A Light in the Night - an initiative to prepare special care kits in order to help others like her who are mourning the death of a loved one.

Ms Fong's friends, art therapist Gillian Ong and Ms Nicole Wong, an associate lecturer at the Singapore University of Social Sciences, lent their support to the cause.

Said Ms Fong: "I imagined those grieving like me and how they were coping during the circuit breaker. Seeing how Covid-19 has affected others, my initial thought was to reach out to those who had lost a loved one."

Ms Fong originally set out to make about 100 care packages, putting thought into the items inside that would bring comfort to the recipients.

The care packs included items such as art supplies, a journal, scent candles, essential oils and a soft toy, as well as specially created guide book on how to use the items, along with testimonies and a resource guide. Each pack cost about $12 to put together.


The care packs included items such as art supplies, a journal, scent candles, essential oils, a soft toy as well as specially created guide book on how to use the items along with testimonies and a resource guide. PHOTO: A LIGHT IN THE NIGHT

She later tapped the oscar @ sg fund, an initiative launched by Temasek Trust to support ground-up initiatives responding to significant and urgent local community needs arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, to put together about 800 care packs, depending on demand.

About 450 packs have been distributed to recipients through various institutions so far.

Ms Fong, who is pursuing a post-graduate degree in counselling at the Singapore Bible College, said: "The subject of grief is very stigmatised in the community and I hope this project will show that it's okay to discuss grief and that the topic should not be taboo."