S’pore samaritan pays bills for 60 needy families

The “heroine” of Henderson Road strikes again.

In June 2010, she helped 13 needy households pay more than S$10,000 in expenses. Now, she has helped 60 needy families pay more than S$30,000 in utility bills, expenses and rent.

One of these families had an outstanding utility bill of S$8,500, and water and power supply have been cut for some time.

The “heroine”, Ms Pang Yingfen, was particularly concerned when she met the family. The golf club membership agent has been actively involved in charity work for the past 20 years, Lianhe Wanbao reported.

Ms Pang, 42, said of herself and her volunteers: “We began voluntary work in Henderson at the end of last year, going door to door giving out 500 pillows, 200 blankets and 200 mattresses. In January and May this year, we organised two charity activities where we gave each household $200 worth of rice and grocery.”

Although the residents have food to eat, many of the needy families are unable to pay their overdue utility bills. That is why when they gave away food items during the Dragon Boat Festival in June this year, they collected the utility bills from the residents as well. After looking through them, they decided to help 60 of the households, she said.

During her visit to block 93, one of the families left a deep impression on her. There were 12 children in the family and they owed $8,500 in utility bills.

“The couple were divorcees who re-married. They had seven children from their earlier marriages and five more after they got married. To make things worse, the couple is now serving a prison sentence, so the 12 children are cared for by their relatives.”

The children are all very young, with the oldest being 14, and the youngest still in nursery. As the flat is too cramped, the older children have to sleep along the corridor.

Recalling some of the people who have gone to her with money to offer, she remembered there was a stockbroker who once wanted to give S$17,000 to help pay the bills for the needy. However, she wanted him to do the work himself as well, so that he would understand the hardship of others.

The stockbroker then had his family, including his parents, wife and three young children, take part in the food distribution in June. Ms Pang said it was “a very good learning opportunity which would allow the children to meet the poorer members in society”.

“At the same time, it allows adults to give back to the community. It is very meaningful.

“For these families, some of them have more than $200 of overdue utility bills, while others owe up to a few thousand dollars. They would be in real trouble if we do not help.”

She has cleared the bills for the 60 households by 31 July and is said to have spent more than S$30,000.

This article was first published on inSing