Some companies are doing their bit to bring some holiday cheer to those in need.
Clients of the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS) have put together Christmas stockings as part of their annual Christmas Stocking Challenge. Around 6,000 of the stockings are going to be sent to youths and children with disadvantages, or those with disabilities, for the rest of the festive season. But this year, some corporates are joining in the action for the first time. Apart from chipping in financially, their staff members contribute their time and help give a hand.
“When we actually incorporated this engagement session, the companies really liked it,” said Ng Rei Na, senior manager of social enterprises at MINDS. “At the end of the year, they’re looking for CSR (corporate social responsibility) activities, or activities whereby their staff can bond and do different things. We also wanted to take this chance to get (MINDS) clients to learn how to interact with members of the public, the correct social behaviour, communication and so on.”
The number of corporate contributions to the project has shot up as a result of making the project more interactive. In 2013, 40 per cent of contributions came from corporate donors, but this year it has increased to 95 per cent with more companies wanting their staff to take part in the cause as opposed to just donating financially.
“Of all the things I’ve done this year, this is one the best things I’ve sort of walked away from,” said Barclays director Alistair Duff. “We were talking about it afterwards, everyone felt very good about themselves. It was a great day; it felt like we’d given a bit back. And definitely with my wife and children at home, I want to get them involved as well.”
Over at Aii Stitch, the company sells fabric goods and sweets and employs only women in need, such as back-to-work moms and those who’d been abused. For this holiday season, it is setting aside 20 per cent of its profits for animals in need. This includes helping to pay for their medical treatments or contributing to animal shelters.
‘I don’t really want to impact just one party with a single project,” said Aii Stitch founder Leona Leong. “We thought we would hire people who are in need of a job. And we also want to give back part of our profits to those who can’t earn a living or who can’t get money like animals. They’re there, they need help.”
Aii Stitch is planning to raise its hiring in 2015, to keep the spirit of giving going into the new year.