SINGAPORE - After a two-year drop in donations during the Covid-19 pandemic, The Salvation Army Singapore is hoping to boost fund raising to meet rising costs and step up support for beneficiaries.
The charity organisation held its annual Red Shield Appeal event after a two-year hiatus at the Conrad Centennial hotel on Friday (July 22) which was attended by donors, volunteers and business leaders.
Ms Fiona Soh, the charity's public relations director, said that the event saw a 27 per cent increase in attendance compared to the one in 2019.
She said: "We have seen a drop in donations for the past two years due to the pandemic. Fund raising is even more crucial and dire this year as we try to cope with rising operational and programme costs to continue helping more beneficiaries in need.
"With the physical luncheon, we are hoping to meet many unmet needs. This year we are blessed with a 27 per cent increase in the number of guests compared to 2019."
A spokesman for The Salvation Army said some guests who attended the event have shown interest in donating to the charity.
She declined to give figures on the amount raised and said it expects donations to continue coming in.
The charity conducts programmes geared towards the elderly, children and families in need, and migrant domestic workers, including operating senior daycare centres and youth drop-in centres.
One of its initiatives, started in 2000, is the Kids In Play programme, which supports families of incarcerated individuals.
It provides casework and counselling to children and their caregivers, and parenting skills sessions to incarcerated parents. It also includes a family bonding segment, where children can spend time with their incarcerated parents without physical barriers or through video calls.
One of the beneficiaries, Mr Graceson Ang, shared his experience during the fund-raising event.
The 38-year-old father of three was sentenced in 2018 for offences including drug-related ones.
Mr Ang, who currently lives at The Helping Hand halfway house, said his drug habit caused him to distance himself from his children and wife before his arrest.
When he came to know about the programme, he requested to join it in the hope of reconnecting with his children.
"At first, I was nervous about whether they would be able to meet me, but the first time I saw them, I felt overwhelmed. After so long, I was able to talk to them and play with them," he said.
"Once I am back in the community, I hope to get a good job and take care of my family, I do not want to leave them again," he added.
The event was also attended by Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli, who noted The Salvation Army's efforts to strengthen families.
He said: "We want to recognise the enduring role of the family in our society and support the building of strong families. For those who fall upon difficult times, we need to enable and support them."