SINGAPORE - The clock is ticking down on the annual Boys' Brigade Share-a-Gift (BBSG) project this year, which has seen lagging donations.
With just days left to the end of the charity drive on Dec 31, the project is making a final appeal for donations. It has reached 72 per cent of its donation target so far.
It is also asking for volunteers to fill the delivery slots between Dec 26 and 29, as half of the 200 slots during this period are still not filled.
Since 1988, The Boys' Brigade has brought cheer to the less fortunate by collecting gifts and food hampers from donors and fulfilling Christmas wishes of the beneficiaries through the BBSG.
Besides contributing financially, donors have also delivered gifts and food items directly to beneficiaries.
The Boys' Brigade has updated its approach for the project in the last two years to keep to safety measures amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Traditionally, the uniformed youth organisation would have deployed its members to supermarkets to collect in-person donations for the project, while raising awareness.
But the project has now shifted away from physical food and gift collection to online donations. The collection drive in supermarkets has also been replaced with a Boys' Brigade standee with a PayNow QR code.
Furthermore, due to safe distancing measures, fewer volunteers can be deployed for each delivery session.
But the move to online platforms has slowed the progress of this year’s donation drive, which was launched on Nov 20. In pre-pandemic years, BBSG would usually have met its donations target by about mid-December.
Despite these challenges, BBSG aims to fulfil the wishes of 44,167 beneficiaries this year - the highest number on record in the project's 34-year history.
Mr Henry Tan, chairman of BBSG 2021, said: "It has been a slower and more challenging donation drive for BBSG since the start of Covid-19."
"We would like to make a final appeal for the public's contribution for both our donation and delivery drives to help us achieve our targets and fulfil the wishes of all 44,167 beneficiaries this year."
To support this cause, Singapore's national shuttlers Loh Kean Yew and Yeo Jia Min volunteered for a delivery session on Thursday (Dec 23), where they went around the island to deliver BBSG food hampers.
BBSG 2021 executive director Desmond Koh told Money FM 89.3 radio station that the work needed to keep the donation drive going on amid the pandemic has been worth it.
"BBSG has become a legacy for Singaporeans during the Christmas season," he said.
"The public and our beneficiaries would recognise our boys in blue, but now they may simply see a standee of our boys, reminding them that it is that time of the year again when we want to bless all Singaporeans around us."
How to contribute to BBSG 2021
1. Cash donations
Cash donations can be made till Dec 31 by PayNow to the Boys' Brigade account.
The donations will be used to purchase FairPrice vouchers and food items for BBSG beneficiaries. They will be delivered during the festive season.
Donors can make donations via the Boys' Brigade website, or scan the PayNow QR code on the standees in 150 FairPrice stores islandwide.
Donations can also be made via Giving.sg, or at AXS stations (select "Hot Links" and tap on "The Boys' Brigade - Donation").
2. Food hampers online donation drive
The public can order food hampers worth $20, $50 or $80 via FairPrice Online for donation.
These hampers will be delivered to social service agencies serving more than 25,000 beneficiaries.
3. Volunteer your time
The Boys' Brigade needs volunteers to help with door-to-door delivery of supermarket vouchers to beneficiaries, from now till Dec 29.
Those interested can register online at the Boys' Brigade website, and the last day for signing up is Dec 29.
All volunteers must be fully vaccinated and adhere to safe management measures.
There will be five delivery slots each day (10am to 11am, 11am to noon, 1pm to 2pm, 2pm to 3pm and 3pm to 4pm), except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, with a limit of 10 cars per session.