About 300 needy households in Limbang get festive packs ahead of CNY

Each pack contains about $90 worth of food items, largely funded by North West CDC's philanthropic group, Club-100 @ North West and Guardian. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG
Volunteers distributed the festive care packs to the beneficiaries during the WeCare @North West- service weeks event on Jan 22, 2022. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - For the past 10 years, Mr Tan Eng Hwa, 82, has cared for his wife, who uses a wheelchair and has three types of cancer.

Every day, Mr Tan bathes and cooks for Madam Li Geok, 80, and changes her diapers.

"It's my way of paying her back for everything she has done for me, especially since I went astray during the early years of our marriage," he told The Straits Times in Mandarin. "Sometimes life gets very tough, but this is love."

On Saturday (Jan 22), the couple of more than 60 years was among about 300 households living in public rental units in Limbang that received festive packs from the North West Community Development Council, as part of its WeCare @ North West - Service Weeks.

Since 2014, the annual distribution drive by the council and its partners takes place ahead of Chinese New Year. This year, more than 1,200 volunteers from corporate and community agencies participated in the exercise.

Each pack contains about $90 worth of food items, largely funded by North West CDC's philanthropic group, Club-100 @ North West and Guardian.

While receiving the pack that includes vitamins and a 5kg packet of rice, Mr Tan said: "It might be small, but every bit helps."

This year, one of the council's corporate partners, City Development Limited (CDL), has also chipped in with new home improvement items for nine households.

Mr Tan was among the beneficiaries, receiving a rice cooker and a bed to replace the one he picked up from the rubbish dump.

CDL senior vice-president Foo Chui Mui said the real estate development company has a culture of giving back to society and has supported the CDC's efforts in helping vulnerable residents living in the Limbang neighbourhood since 2016.

The enthusiasm shown by its employees to volunteer to distribute the festive packs this year has been overwhelming, she said.

She said: "Within half an hour of putting up the event on our intranet, we had a long list of people on the waiting list."

On Saturday, 33 employees joined the distribution of festive packs to residents in Limbang.

Up to 7,300 households living in public rental units in 14 divisions, including Admiralty, Canberra and Woodgrove, are expected to benefit from the exercise.

Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, MP for Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC, gives a short speech before he and the volunteers distributed the care packs to the beneficiaries. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

Joining the distribution exercise on Saturday was Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, an MP for Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC.

He said: "We think it's something very meaningful, particularly during this pandemic when so many residents are going through difficult times.

"So over the past few years, we've been stepping up our efforts, whether it's through grocery distribution or providing financial assistance to needy residents, but it does make a difference when there is a human touch."

Next weekend, which will be the last weekend of the food drive, residents from Woodlands will get to select food items from a pop-up community store.

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