SINGAPORE - Getting into the spirit of giving this year can be as easy as making a purchase from a vending machine, with 20 machines rolled out to make donating easier.
The Endowus Giving Machines allow users to choose one from 23 charities to make a $5, $10, $15 or $20 donation to. They will select a “giving card” that depicts how the money is used, like providing food for seniors or funding programmes for imprisoned mothers.
The machines can be found at UOB Plaza, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Orchard Central, Far East Square, Gardens by the Bay, Ion Orchard, as well as Clarke Quay and MacPherson MRT stations till Dec 31.
Donations can also be done online through the Giving.sg platform.
Last year’s run of the project raised more than $50,000. Mr Samuel Rhee, chairman and chief investment officer of digital wealth firm Endowus, said the target is $100,000 this year, benefiting charities such as Boys’ Town, Children’s Wishing Well, The Food Bank and Yellow Ribbon Fund.
Another beneficiary, Centre for Fathering, helps fathers such as senior technician Ramlan Saruan, 33, build better relationships with their children.
Arguments with his wife, stress from work and built-up aggression led him to lash out at his family. In May 2019, he threw a bicycle at his wife and sons.
The case came up in court and a personal protection order was taken out for the wife and sons. He went for mandatory counselling and was encouraged to approach the Centre for Fathering. He took part in programmes to find ways to deepen his relationship with his children and tap a support system in other fathers.
His relationship with his family improved. His wife Nurshamsiah Abdul Ghani, 36, who is a housewife, said: “I believe the way he is today is his core personality – the way he should have been throughout his life. He is someone who is actually jovial, loves teasing others and making people laugh.
“He used to be sullen and angsty at home, but he’s much better now and I can see that he’s happier.
“Of course, he still has bad days and struggles to battle his inner demons frequently. During these instances, I remind him to separate himself from his anger and emotions.”
The donations through the vending machines and online platform will help programmes like the one Mr Ramlan participates in, among others.
Director of marketing and advocacy at National Volunteer And Philanthropy Centre Jeffrey Tan said there has been a decrease in offline donations and an increase in online giving, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic.
He added that other than secure platforms such as Giving.sg, initiatives like the vending machines help to drive donations by providing additional avenues for people to give.
Mr Rhee said it is important to remember that the value of a dollar given to charities is inherently diminished during times of inflation.
“Monetary donations are closely tied to personal financial situations – in the case of high inflation, which erodes the average person’s purchasing power, it can have a real impact on Singaporeans’ abilities and willingness to donate since their disposable income is negatively affected,” he added.
“We hope that as more Singaporeans are out and about celebrating and shopping for the festive period, they can take the opportunity with their loved ones to share a little of what they have been blessed with, by being charitable to those who are less fortunate.”