ST School Pocket Money Fund raised record $14 million in 2020 despite Covid-19 pandemic

Ms Joan Sim, Mr Anthony Chng and their daughter Chng Rui Jie, who raised over $56,000 for The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund. PHOTO: ANTHONY CHNG

SINGAPORE - When the Covid-19 pandemic struck last year, nine-year-old Chng Rui Jie was worried that Primary 1 and 2 pupils in Singapore might not have enough money for food.

So last June, the Primary 4 Gongshang Primary School pupil set up a fund-raising campaign on with the help of her father Mr Anthony Chng, 44.

"My father told me that children younger than me might go hungry during recess because their parents might have less money (due to the economic impact of Covid-19).

"It doesn't feel good to go hungry so I wanted to help," Rui Jie told The Straits Times.

The online campaign, which ran from June 3 to Dec 31 last year, raised more than $56,000 for The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (STSPMF).

Ms Tan Bee Heong, general manager of the fund, said STSPMF raised about $14 million last year despite the pandemic, the highest amount raised in a year in the fund's 20-year history.

The fund in 2020 helped more than 10,000 students by giving them pocket money and special payouts amid the outbreak.

Mr Chng, director of the enterprise division at Children-At-Risk Empowerment Association Singapore, said that his family is grateful to those who contributed to Rui Jie's campaign.

"At first, Rui Jie wanted to donate her own money but I shared with her that sharing her voice could potentially get more people to help and more children in need will receive support," he said.

It was not the only fund-raising drive last year an individual started.

Miss Ong Wann, founder and principal of HANOK Korean Language School, raised $1,635 for STSPMF through a fund-raising campaign on

Founder and principal of HANOK Korean Language School Miss Ong Wann raised $1,635 for The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund by conducting online Korean language lessons in 2020. PHOTO: HANOK KOREAN LANGUAGE SCHOOL

She gave four Korean language lessons online for free to those who donated at least $25 during the campaign's duration of June 6 and Nov 30 last year.

"During the circuit breaker, I brainstormed for a way to do more for those impacted by Covid-19.

"I then thought of using my expertise in the Korean language and teaching to provide lessons and raise funds," the 43-year-old said.

As part of Mr Bean's 25th anniversary last year, the soya bean-based food and beverage retailer also contributed 900 packs of sweet treats to STSPMF beneficiaries.

The packs, worth $40,000 in total, included fresh soya milk pouches, soya granola bars, grass jelly and Unisoy instant soya powder.

Mr Loh Jwee Poh, founder and chief executive of Mr Bean said: "When the pandemic hit Singapore and the circuit breaker took place, we realised that many, especially the kids, will be unhappy with being restricted indoors.

"We wanted to reach out and cheer them up. Knowing the kids enjoyed our food makes me happy too."

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