Hawker lauded for kindness in donating meals to elderly in nursing homes

Mr Low Boon Chuan (right) with volunteers during a delivery of fish porridge to senior activity centres and nursing homes. PHOTO: COURTESY OF LOW BOON CHUAN

SINGAPORE - While operating their fish porridge stall in Bedok, Mr Low Boon Chuan and his family often came across seniors who were alone and had no one to care for them.

Conversations with these elderly customers spurred Mr Low, 35, to start his own meal donation initiative in 2017, delivering fish porridge to local nursing homes on a weekly basis.

Mr Low began sponsoring meals for seniors at Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home in 2017, and expanded the initiative to cover Awwa Ang Mo Kio the next year.

"I grew up watching my mum being charitable with those around her, and when I suggested this initiative, my family supported me, along with my friends and other donors.

"Some may donate money, while others will try to give what they have, be it clothes or items. In our case, fish porridge is a comforting meal that we can offer seniors," said Mr Low.

The Boon Keng Road Fish Head Bee Hoon was started by Mr Low's mother in 1997, and he took over the family business in 2011.

Over the past five years, Mr Low's food drive has flourished, with 20 of his friends pitching in to deliver fish porridge to several other homes and senior centres, including Thye Hua Kwan Moral Charities' 12 senior activity centres, Thong Teck Home for Senior Citizens, Tai Pei Old People's Home and Geylang East Home for the Aged.

For his efforts to uplift the lives of seniors, Mr Low was given the Friends of Community Care Award at the Community Care Day celebrations held online on Monday (Oct 25).

Organised by the Agency for Integrated Care, Community Care Day honours efforts to enable Singaporeans to age gracefully and with dignity in the community.

Mr Low, who was nominated for the award by Thye Hua Kwan Moral Charities, said the recognition has motivated him to continue his initiative for as long as he can.

In the first 10 months of this year alone, Mr Low has given out more than 8,000 packets of fish porridge to seniors across Singapore.

While the Covid-19 pandemic did not disrupt his delivery arrangements, it has put a stop to Mr Low's interactions with residents.

Mr Low said: "Over the years, I have been touched by the kindness and happiness of the seniors that we deliver our meals to. Some of them have made items for me, like paper flowers, while others greet me with a smile.

"Since the pandemic started, I have not been able to meet the seniors. I was also not able to say a final goodbye to some of them who passed away during the pandemic.

"It has been difficult, but I hope that with time, we will be able to meet and deliver fish porridge in person again."

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