SP Group brings Chinese New Year festivities to more than 1,800 underprivileged families

Gas operations engineer Lydia Koh (right) instructs resident Samat Bin Sakek on how to use gas appliances safely in the household. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY
(From left) Tampines West residents Farleen Mohamed 45, a housewife, and Nur Qistina Amirah 10, playing games with volunteers from SP Group - head of strategic development Goh Chee Kiong, 47; gas survey engineer Lydia Koh 24, gas survey engineer; and senior principal technical officer Salman Kamiso, 47; and engineer Joey Chang, 28. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

SINGAPORE - In keeping with its annual Chinese New Year celebrations, the Singapore Power (SP) Group on Thursday (Jan 16) distributed daily items to the underprivileged to bring some festive cheer.

For the seventh year running, staff volunteers, known as SP Heart Workers, gave out care packs to more than 1,800 families.

About 240 volunteers visited families in Buona Vista, Punggol North, Taman Jurong, Tampines West, Toa Payoh-Balestier, Woodgrove and Yio Chu Kang.

Each family this year received a "Power Pack", which included daily essential food items such as rice, Milo, biscuits and canned food.

Among the recipients were 200 residents from Tampines West, where the SP Heart Workers have been engaging elderly citizens with recreational activities like karaoke and Bingo, as well as grocery-shopping trips.

This year, however, the organisers wanted to spice up the festivities, and decided to perform for the beneficiaries as well.

Ms Lydia Koh, one of the SP Heart Workers, created a "Spin the Wheel" mobile application, where prizes included songs that volunteers performed.

"We wanted to bring more fun this year so that the celebration with the residents would be more interactive and engaging," said Ms Koh, a 24-year-old gas operations engineer with SP Group.

Madam Khoo Sai Kim, a 73-year-old retiree and resident of Tampines West, was so enthused, she started singing along with the volunteers.

Mr Samat Sakek, 75, was grinning widely.

"Our medical expenses are very high now, so the food provided us with some relief," said Mr Samat, who is a diabetic. He lives in the estate with his wife, Mrs Kamariah Harun, 70.

Both are retirees who have been surviving on their Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings and the Silver Support scheme, which gives beneficiaries a cash supplement of between $300 and $750 every three months based on their Housing Board flat type.

The scheme was launched in 2016 to top up the retirement incomes of the bottom 20 per cent of Singaporeans aged 65 and above.

A smaller degree of support is provided for the next 10 per cent of seniors.

Aside from upping the festive mood, the volunteers also used the visit to remind residents of the correct gas safety practices at home.

"People often do not know how to react to a suspected gas leak, so we shared some tips on how to identify them, and the proper course of action, such as opening windows for ventilation," said Ms Koh.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli, a Tampines GRC MP, said he was heartened to see SP Group's employees joining hands with grassroots volunteers to help underprivileged families.

"They contribute their time to spread festive cheer, as well as engage residents through regular activities throughout the year.

"It is also encouraging that young volunteers are taking the lead, delivering new ideas and energy to our community."

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