The community development council (CDC) for Singapore's north-west region is raising at least $2 million to help laid-off residents amid the coronavirus pandemic.
An MP for Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC and Mayor of North West CDC Alex Yam announced this yesterday. He said schemes emerging from the CDC's fund-raising efforts will make sure people do not have to wait for approval under existing government programmes, which could take too long.
"Government schemes will remain the bread-and-butter, but we want to be able to plug the gap in terms of timeliness and urgency," he said.
"As we look ahead, we are hopeful that the economy will stabilise a little bit more, but (this is) in case there are still more people who may face retrenchments or termination due to the economic downturn."
Mr Yam was speaking during the WeCare@North West - Service Weeks campaign, which is into its eighth year.
From Jan 6 to Feb 7, festive packs containing food items worth $50, such as soya milk powder, instant noodles, coffee, sunflower oil and oatmeal, will be given to about 20,000 residents living in rental units.
Corporate volunteers will also install appliances in some households. Gain City, for example, is giving nine families in Marsiling water heaters, washing machines and beds.
A total of 1,700 volunteers, the most since the campaign began, signed up to help this year.
Owing to the coronavirus pandemic, volunteers will be split into smaller groups, and the items pre-packed by schools on their premises before distribution.
Minister for Education Lawrence Wong was the guest of honour at the campaign's launch yesterday.
He said the event holds much more significance this year, as families continue to try their best to stay afloat during these tough times.
Number of volunteers who signed up for this year's WeCare@North West - Service Weeks - the highest since the start of the campaign, which is into its eighth year.
He said: "We hope that through an event like this, we can continue to give people hope and help many of our families cope under these difficult circumstances."
On the new restrictions placed on household visiting during Chinese New Year, announced on Friday, he added: "It's a bit of a dampener. This Chinese New Year will be different, perhaps quieter and more subdued, but hopefully, we can make it a safe new year as well."
Ms Hany Soh, another MP for Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC, was also at the event and said the CDC will engage vulnerable groups on Covid-19 vaccines.