SINGAPORE - This year, Christmas came early for dozens of people with special needs - and it came with free pizza.
On Friday (Dec 7), beneficiaries at the Association for Persons with Special Needs (APSN) Centre for Adults at Kembangan-Chai Chee Community Hub received a surprise treat when a team of Pizza Hut delivery riders, dressed as Santa Clause, brought them pizzas for lunch.
There was no charge for the pizzas, which were delivered as part of a collaboration between Pizza Hut and APSN. The festivities saw a team from Pizza Hut eating with the APSN beneficiaries and 33 APSN staff, and having a song and dance session together.
APSN beneficiary Ho Zi Guang, 19, was one of the more than 170 beneficiaries who enjoyed the luncheon.
"I was happy and excited to see them wearing the Santa Claus outfit. I enjoyed eating the pizza and garlic bread they brought with my friends," he said.
The Santa delivery riders were volunteers from Pizza Hut's delivery team. Although only 10 delivery riders were selected for the event, many more had volunteered for it.
Mr Yang Xiao Jie, 30, one of the delivery riders, said: "It was a very meaningful day for me as I was able to engage with the beneficiaries and, most importantly, bring a smile to them and share an afternoon together to celebrate this festive season."
Dr Christopher Tay, APSN's chief executive officer, said the event signified the joint commitment of Pizza Hut and APSN to build an inclusive community.
Pizza Hut has been partnering with APSN since 2011, when it was appointed the ambassador of the APSN Delta Senior School. Pizza Hut also employs APSN beneficiaries after they graduate.
Pizza Hut general manager Paddy Rangappa said that the event was organised to bring "festive cheer and joy" to APSN's beneficiaries.
"It has been a wonderful journey working together to advocate an inclusive society, and champion the cause for diversity in open employment," he said.
Mr Saw Wei Yuan, a 31-year-old APSN beneficiary, said: "I felt happy as I like to go to Pizza Hut! I had my favourite Hawaiian pizza and drumlets, and it was a surprise to see Santa Claus."
As Christmas draws near, Santa Clauses have been out and about spreading joy around Singapore.
On Dec 2, more than 2,700 people dressed as Santa Clause, elves and even a Christmas tree took part in the fifth edition of Santa Run for Wishes 2018, organised by the Make-A-Wish Foundation Singapore to raise funds for children with critical illnesses.
On Dec 7, a Santa Claus flew in specially from Lapland, Finland - the unofficial home of the "real" Santa Claus - to meet needy children at Gardens by the Bay.