SINGAPORE - Last December, Madam N (not her full name) and her seven-year-old daughter were chased out of their flat by her husband because of a marital dispute.
With only $85 and no family to turn to, the 29-year-old woman approached the Member of Parliament for Punggol West SMC Sun Xueling for help.
On Wednesday (Jan 27), Ms Sun appealed for a list of furniture and household appliances on behalf of the mother, who had secured a rental flat but could not afford to buy these essential items.
In 10 minutes, members of the public responded with donations, which included a fridge and a water heater.
"I would like to thank the government, Ms Sun and Singapore residents for their help," said a grateful Madam N, who is originally from Vietnam.
On Dec 13, she arrived at a crisis shelter in Serangoon with just a plastic bag containing a few items of clothing.
To care for her daughter, Madam N quit her part-time jobs in security and at a quarantine facility as they required her to work 12-hour shifts.
Over the next two weeks, the situation grew increasingly fraught with both mother and daughter depending on food donations and no income to pay the girl's school fees in January. Madam N's studies for qualifications in security and as a financial assistant also took a backseat.
Said an emotional Madam N: "When my first application for a rental flat was rejected, I didn't know if I could live on but I remembered that I had to stay positive for my daughter."
The Housing Board clarified on Feb 1 that following Madam N's application for a rental flat on Dec 13, it had been assessing her request. At no point was Madam N's application rejected.
Breaking down, Madam N recalled going to Ms Sun's Meet the People Session (MPS) as a last resort on Dec 28 last year.
In Ms Sun's Facebook post on Wednesday, she said Madam N's daughter looked as lost and confused as her mother when she saw them at her MPS.
When contacted by The Straits Times, Ms Sun said: "I teared up listening to her... I had originally bought candies and biscuits for my volunteers at the branch. We pooled together whatever Christmas sweets we had at the branch that night to give her daughter."
Moved by their plight, the team from Punggol West SMC contacted the HDB about Madam N's rental flat application and also contributed cash and NTUC vouchers to her.
Social workers are currently assessing her application for financial assistance.
As at 1pm on Thursday, around 50 people have expressed their intention to donate.
The Punggol West SMC team will be collecting and delivering the donated items to Madam N's new home this weekend.
"I am immensely grateful to all the kind-hearted souls who responded so quickly online to extend help," added Ms Sun, who is also Minister of State for Social and Family Development.
"Singapore is strong, beautiful and kind because of them."
Heartened by positive comments from around 200 users to Ms Sun's Facebook post, the team intends to mount donation drives for other vulnerable families.
Thankful for the help, Madam N said that she plans to work and study hard to eventually buy a flat.
"I just want to settle down and move on with my daughter," she said.
Correction note: This article has been updated to reflect HDB's clarification that at no point was Madam N's rental flat application rejected.