Sri Mariamman Temple volunteers spread CNY cheer

Food is packed into into bento boxes and readied for distribution by 10am.
Food is packed into into bento boxes and readied for distribution by 10am.PHOTO: T.KAVI
A brigade of 50 volunteers prepares the meals from mock fish in sweet chilli sauce to mock char siew fried rice.
A brigade of 50 volunteers prepares the meals from mock fish in sweet chilli sauce to mock char siew fried rice.PHOTO: T.KAVI
The temple also distributed goodie bags, hongbao and mandarin oranges to the elderly.
The temple also distributed goodie bags, hongbao and mandarin oranges to the elderly.PHOTO: T.KAVI

SINGAPORE - Mr Pathmanathan, 63, has been a volunteer at Singapore's oldest Hindu temple, Sri Mariamman Temple, for over 45 years.

Yesterday, he woke up at 4am to prepare Chinese New Year lunch for about 370 elderly people with his team of volunteers.

Mr Pathmanathan and a brigade of 50 volunteers prepared the meals - from mock fish in sweet chilli sauce to mock char siew fried rice - packed the food into bento boxes and got them ready for distribution by 10am.

The food was delivered to seniors at the SASCO Senior Citizens' Home, Kreta Ayer Senior Activity Centre, Sree Narayana Mission and Sun Love Home.

Sri Mariamman Temple, managed by the Hindu Endowments Board, has been hosting Chinese New Year reunion lunch at the temple for the last 17 years.

The temple also distributed goodie bags, hongbao and mandarin oranges to the elderly.

Temple management committee chairman S. Lakshmanan said: "We host Lunar New Year celebrations as a way of reciprocating the warmth and goodwill we enjoy with our neighbours in Chinatown."

Noting that the pandemic has meant it is not possible to hold large celebrations, he said: "Our temple management and volunteers wanted to keep the festive tradition alive through this food distribution. This is our small way of extending CNY cheer to fellow Singaporeans."

Volunteer K. Susenthran, 26, said: "During this pandemic, the elderly in the homes may not be able to go out, and some may have to go without the opportunity to celebrate Chinese New Year with their families.

"I believe it is important to give our support to them as a community."