SINGAPORE - It was just a framed photograph, but the five families presented the gift by Mr Desmond Lee, Minister for Social and Family Development, were beaming effusively on stage.
They were among 20 low-income families to benefit from Care Corner's Portrait of Love initiative, which gave the recipients access to professionals who snapped portraits of their families.
"(The initiative) was a practical expression of support," said Care Corner chief executive Yap Poh Kheng. "We wanted them to have the aspiration of a beautiful, happy family."
The five families received their photographs at the non-profit's gala fund-raising dinner on Wednesday night (April 25).
The dinner, held at Fullerton Hotel, was the culmination of a four-month fund-raising campaign called Together We Rise.
The campaign, which began in December 2017, included programmes like university roadshows to raise awareness, and a Valentine's Day activity where seniors gave hand-made flowers to office workers at Raffles Place.
Prior to the dinner, the campaign had raised about $650,000 for the organisation's programmes. With additional donations throughout the night, the organisation hopes to reach their target of $1 million.
Care Corner was established in 1981, initially assisting marginalised blue-collar workers out of a small building in the central part of Singapore.
But it has rapidly expanded its services. Last year, it supported 14,531 service users, handled 17,300 hotline counselling calls, served 46,000 meals to seniors and engaged over 1,100 volunteers in its 32 care centres islandwide.
"With a rapidly ageing population and an increasing social divide, in a more volatile economy, the social and health needs of our people will only increase and become more complex," said Mr Yap in a speech.
He called upon the organisation's volunteers and partners to continue to collaborate, in order to strengthen the resilience of individuals, families and communities in a sustainable manner.
Minister Desmond Lee similarly stressed the need to expand outreach efforts to vulnerable communities.
"Our broad policies, such as those on education, housing, jobs and healthcare, have uplifted broad segments of our society over many generations.
"But for those who remain in need for various reasons, we need to do much more, collectively, to help them overcome their challenges," he said.
Care Corner is looking to expand its outreach beyond the social sector to health services.
Senior citizens in Toa Payoh will soon have access to more health and community care services, with the planned opening of two new Active Ageing Hubs operated by the non-profit, supported and funded by the Ministry of Health.
The two hubs at Block 131, Lorong 1, Toa Payoh and Block 261A, Toa Payoh East are extensions of Care Corner's Seniors Services.
These hubs - opening in the third quarter of this year (2018) and early next year (2019) respectively - will offer active ageing programmes and day rehabilitation for about 100 elderly.
Senior citizens are one of the four main target groups of Care Corner's services. The others are families, children and youth.
In addition, the organisation offers customised intervention and support programmes for families, individuals and couples.
Correction note: An earlier version of this story referred to the Active Ageing Hubs as Active Ageing Centres. We are sorry for the error.