Vouchers bring cheer to needy elderly folk

Old folks’ home resident Cheng Say Hua cannot recall the last time he bought a new set of clothes.

But on Sunday, the 72-year-old was all smiles when he picked out his first new pair of trousers this year and bought them using $17 worth of NTUC FairPrice vouchers.

“Without a voucher, I cannot afford to buy new clothes,” he said in Mandarin.

Mr Cheng, who lives in the Asian Women’s Welfare Association Community Home in Ang Mo Kio, was one of 500 elderly participants in Project C.A.R.E (Caring and Reaching out to the Elderly), an initiative that aims to provide support to needy elderly people.

The old folk came from Lions Befrienders and the Asian Women’s Welfare Association – which runs homes for elderly people of both sexes. They were given $30 vouchers to shop at the FairPrice Xtra outlet at Changi Business Park. Afterwards, they were treated to lunch at Ban Heng restaurant in HarbourFront Centre.

They were paired up with about 430 volunteers from the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC) and 240 from the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations.

It was the largest turnout of volunteers and beneficiaries since the project was founded in 2007.

“I helped show Mr Cheng to the fitting room and to advise him on a suitable price,” said volunteer Nicky Cheng, 12, who takes part in the council’s supervised homework group in Punggol.

This year is the first time the council has teamed up with the federation, which has an existing base of volunteers willing to take part in the project.

Mr Baey Yam Keng, chairman of the CDAC Volunteers Engagement and Development Committee, said: “Although we have been doing this programme for the past six years, it’s bigger in scale now, with more than double the number of beneficiaries, as we are able to find volunteers to help us.”

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, guest of honour at the restaurant lunch, said in Mandarin: “The elderly are not a burden, but a resource. I hope the younger volunteers among us will take care of the elderly in our midst to create a loving society.”

Source: The Straits Times