As one of seven kids in a poor family, Malaysian celebrity chef Redzuawan Ismail, better known as Chef Wan, grew up without any pocket money.
"I didn't have a pencil and eraser and had to forgo breakfast most days, so I know what it is like to be hungry," he said.
That is why the 57-year-old culinary success turned up yesterday in Singapore to support the Kids-for-Kids charity event, which will benefit The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund.
Held at the Singapore Press Holdings News Centre auditorium, the event was a carnival-like affair, with five- and six-year-olds from organisers Star Learners Childcare Group manning 21 booths selling food, gifts and providing entertainment to help raise a targeted $25,000.
Among the items on sale were art produced by some of the young ones, such as canvas totes with hand-drawn designs filled in with fabric paint.
"We wanted to give the children an opportunity to help their less fortunate peers, and by having them man the booths that also builds character," said Tan Meng Wei, founder of Star Learners which runs 11 childcare centres islandwide.
By Sunday evening, more than $25,000 had been raised.
All proceeds will be donated to ChildAid, an annual charity concert where children showcase their talents, organised by The Straits Times and The Business Times for the School Pocket Money Fund and The Business Times Budding Artists Fund.
Since the inaugural edition in 2005, ChildAid has raised a total of $7.823 million, including a record $2.016 million last year.