Needy families in South West District receive donated household goods

South West District Mayor Low Yen Ling and West Coast GRC MP Ang Wei Neng meeting Ms Lim Siew Ching and her three daughters yesterday. The family was among some 500 households in Jurong West that received donated items as part of the Festive Cheers @
South West District Mayor Low Yen Ling and West Coast GRC MP Ang Wei Neng meeting Ms Lim Siew Ching and her three daughters yesterday. The family was among some 500 households in Jurong West that received donated items as part of the Festive Cheers @ South West programme. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Single mother Lim Siew Ching gave up her job as a waitress two years ago to care for her nine-year-old daughter, who has an eye condition affecting her vision.

Since then, the 31-year-old has had to rely on financial aid and donations to help meet her household expenses.

Yesterday, Ms Lim was among people from some 500 rental-flat households in Jurong West that each received a bundle of donated items delivered by volunteers. This included rice, chocolates and crackers, as well as face masks.

It was part of the South West Community Development Council's (CDC) Festive Cheers @ South West programme, which involves a series of festive activities and celebrations to bring cheer to families across the district. It kicked off in November and wrapped up yesterday.

"It really helps reduce the financial burden I have to bear, since I'm the only one looking after my family," said Ms Lim, who has two other daughters, aged seven and 13.

Festive Cheers @ South West, an annual programme, saw an uptick in donations in its latest run, said South West District Mayor Low Yen Ling, who was guest of honour at yesterday's distribution drive. The programme received donations-in-kind worth over $600,000 in total, double the amount in the previous run.

Altogether, in this run of the programme, about 8,000 vulnerable households received donated items sponsored by businesses and individuals.

"The groundswell of support from individuals, corporates and the community is 'Singapore Together' in action," said Ms Low, who is also Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth as well as Trade and Industry. "The CDC will continue to connect communities and aggregate resources across society to strengthen our social fabric and build a caring and inclusive South West District."

The role of CDCs has, of late, come under scrutiny. At the debate on the Budget statement last week, Leader of the Opposition and Workers' Party chief Pritam Singh called into question the need for CDCs and full-time mayors, and asked whether their role in the upcoming $100 CDC vouchers, which will be given to all Singaporean households, was a way to make the CDCs relevant.

In response, Central Singapore District Mayor Denise Phua said this accusation belittled the CDCs and their partners. She said the CDCs' "biggest mistake" was not better publicising their work, which includes assisting residents and mobilising businesses and others to help the community. She also said that of the five mayors, she was the only full-time one.

West Coast GRC MP Ang Wei Neng, who was present at yesterday's event, told participants in the charity drive that the South West CDC is also involved in long-term programmes to help residents in the rental blocks.

For instance, Nanyang Sayang, a free tuition and mentorship programme for children from vulnerable households, is supported by the CDC, he said. "CDCs have been doing a lot of good work, but sometimes this is not well publicised."

  • FESTIVE CHEERS @ SOUTH WEST

  • >$600k What the latest run of the programme received in donations-in-kind, double the amount in the previous run.

    8,000 Number of vulnerable households that received donated items in the latest run of the programme.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 01, 2021, with the headline Needy families in South West District receive donated household goods. Subscribe