Programme to help needy senior citizens with groceries to get more young volunteers

NTUC FairPrice said the joint initiative aims to foster a culture of giving among young people, while promoting multi-generational bonding within the community.
NTUC FairPrice said the joint initiative aims to foster a culture of giving among young people, while promoting multi-generational bonding within the community.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A volunteer programme by that helps needy senior citizens shop for groceries and raise awareness among them about healthier food choices is getting more young people to chip in.

From May, more than 100 young people from Youth Corp Singapore will take part in an NTUC FairPrice volunteer programme, the supermarket chain said on Friday (Feb 23).

Youth Corps Singapore volunteers will serve alongside FairPrice volunteers, who include the supermarket chain staff and the public, to facilitate supermarket shopping trips for needy elderly beneficiaries from various voluntary welfare organisations, including Ren Ci Nursing Home and Bishan Home for the Intellectually Disabled.

The volunteers will shop and help carry groceries with seniors, as well as spend time with them to educate them on making healthier food choices, under the FairPrice Volunteer Programme.

The joint initiative aims to foster a culture of giving among young people, while promoting multi-generational bonding within the community, said NTUC FairPrice.

The announcement was made by NTUC FairPrice CEO Seah Kian during a Chinese New Year celebration at the Ren Ci @ Ang Mo Kio nursing home.

"This joint initiative aims to inculcate in our youth the spirit of giving, while promoting multi-generational bonding within the community. Volunteering also helps to enhance one's social skills and provides a more holistic perspective of life and our responsibility to society at large," said Mr Seah.

Mr Ong Kah Kuang, Youth Corps Singapore's executive director, said that through the programme, young people "will gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of our seniors, in turn improving their interactions with them in their daily lives".

Since its launch in 2012, volunteers have contributed over 22,000 volunteer hours through the FairPrice Volunteer Programme.

From 2017, the supermarket chain invited the public to join in on its volunteering efforts. This includes distributing food, visiting nursing homes, elderly centres or participating in excursions with them, and cleaning the homes of elderly residents who live alone.

NTUC FairPrice has about 1000 staff volunteer sign-ups for various activities throughout the year.

At Friday's event, Mr Seah also announced that its charity arm, FairPrice Foundation, is donating $200,000 to Ren Ci Hospital and Thye Hua Kwan Moral Society. This was the culmination of the supermarket chain's pledge to sell mandarin oranges for charity last month.

NTUC FairPrice pledged to donate $38, up to a total of $200,000, for each box of mandarin oranges bought by the public through its board and senior management team. In all they sold over 9,000 boxes.

The supermarket chain's chairman, board members and senior management team worked alongside frontline staff at FairPrice stores selling mandarin oranges for charity over the Chinese New Year period.

"With our customers' support, we are happy to share that we have exceeded our target. Of the full amount, $100,000 will be presented to Ren Ci Hospital, and the other $100,000 to Thye Hua Kwan," said Mr Seah. "This donation will not only go towards providing the necessary care and support to beneficiaries, it also symbolises the generosity and goodwill of our community."