30 small charities to benefit from new SG Cares Giving Week Fund

President Halimah noted that charities face a challenging time raising funds amid the coronavirus pandemic. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

SINGAPORE - Despite more donations flowing in during the coronavirus pandemic, charity Social Health Growth is struggling to help a growing pool of people in need.

It has intensified its online fund-raising efforts but the battered economy has been an impediment, said its chairman and founder Alson Boo.

Now, it is hoping the new SG Cares Giving Week Fund, launched on Tuesday (Dec 1), will help it get closer to achieving its target sum of $500,000.

The money is for its 15 programmes held at seven centres islandwide that benefit more than 5,000 single as well as unwed mums plus underprivileged children and the elderly.

The new fund aims to swell the coffers of 30 small charities that are struggling amid the pandemic. These charities receive less than $500,000 in annual receipts, which include government grants, donations as well as fees and charges.

People can donate at giving.sg/gwfund until Dec 31, and the money collected will be equally distributed among the charities.

The unveiling of the fund coincides with the start of SG Cares Giving Week, which was launched by President Halimah Yacob on Tuesday at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The campaign is jointly organised by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre, SG Cares Office and National Council of Social Service.

It goes virtual this year, bringing performances and workshops online. Proceeds from related activities and initiatives from now until Dec 31 will also go to the SG Cares Giving Week Fund.

President Halimah noted that charities face a challenging time raising funds amid the coronavirus pandemic but many Singaporeans have been stepping up to help people.

"The spirit of caring had carried us through many challenges in the past, and I am certain that it continue to do so in the current crisis," she said.

She highlighted the effort of non-profit Heartware Network, which is partnering students from National Junior College to prepare and distribute care packs to senior citizens.

"As we enter the festive season, let us not forget to keep the giving and caring spirit at the centre of it all. Together, we can make a greater impact in helping the vulnerable groups in our society," President Halimah added.

Another hopeful beneficiary of the new fund is GEM New Start Centre, which supports young girls aged between 18 and 25 with empowering talks and a residential home it runs for them.

The home in Thomson takes in six to 12 girls at a time, referred to the centre by the prison services, Ministry of Social and Family Development and social service agencies, said manager Doreen Lim.

The girls stay for six months to a year and go through character building and life skills sessions and vocational skills training.

It has helped more than 160 girls since it was founded in 2011.

"We are anticipating more referrals and girls coming into the home, so expenses will be going up," Ms Lim said, adding that the pandemic has forced it to cancel two fund-raising events this year.

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