SINGAPORE - A total of 120 "fortune bags" were given out to the elderly from the Care Corner Senior Activity Centre in Woodlands on Tuesday (Jan 29), as part of a Singapore Press Holdings' (SPH) annual event to spread festive cheer to the community.
Each bag contains items such as brown rice, biscuits, Milo, coffee and tea bags, Mandarin oranges and medicated oil.
Mr Archimedes Rodil, a software engineer from SPHTech division, dressed up as God of Fortune to liven up the atmosphere.
"I found it extra interesting because I'm not Chinese," he said.
"It was really amazing because peeping through the small holes in the costume, I can see the joy and hope in the eyes of the elderly. They rushed to shake my hands, embrace me and put their arms around me," said the 39-year-old Filipino, who has been working in Singapore since 2010.
"All worth the sweat and heat while inside the costume," he added.
More than 60 senior citizens and over 20 volunteers attended the event organised by SPH's Staff Volunteers Club. Elderly people from the centre who did not turn up for the event also received a bag.
The "SPH Cares with Bags of Love" event also comprised a bento lunch, memory games, musical performances by the volunteers and a lucky draw with prizes donated by the volunteers, such as electric kettle and iron.
The volunteers themselves received a surprise too. The senior citizens prepared a special lo hei and put up a short performance of Chinese New Year songs.
Ms Chin Soo Fang, the head of corporate communications and corporate social responsibility division at SPH, said: "We had not expected the senior citizens to make the time and effort to reciprocate and show their appreciation with their lo hei and performance.
"They have touched our hearts just as we have warmed theirs. It has been a truly meaningful and memorable Chinese New Year celebration," she added.
Care Corner Singapore is a non-profit organisation established since 1981. It has 33 service centres islandwide serving the isolated and disadvantaged through their extensive social services. Target groups include youths at risk, lonely seniors and special needs children.