Charities see more volunteers during festive season

The National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) said it is seeing more people coming forward to volunteer during the festive season.

More of such seasonal volunteers are switching to regular community work.

At Willing Hearts, hundreds of meals are prepared daily, by a team of about 150 regular volunteers.

It delivers an average of more than 27,000 free meals a month to the needy across Singapore.

During the school holidays and festive season, it sees twice the number of volunteers.

“My parents have always raised me to try and do things for the less fortunate people during the holidays,” said Nicolas Eng, a volunteer at Willing Hearts.

“This is the only time of the year to get time out of work to volunteer. During the (rest of the) year, it’s a bit hard to find time on a regular basis to do community service.”

Various groups such as the Singapore Red Cross Society and the Make-A-Wish Foundation said they have seen more volunteers during this period.

“This is a trend we are noticing. It’s a trend that’s not only in Singapore, but worldwide as well,” said Hosea Lai, deputy director at NVPC.

“When we talk about episodic volunteering, people may think, ‘Oh, they are ad hoc volunteers’. They are really not just ad hoc volunteers. We (have done a study) on episodic volunteers and about 40 per cent of them continue to volunteer regularly with the organisation.”

Last year, NVPC saw volunteer numbers double in November and December.

In the first 10 months of 2011, it had an average of 700 volunteers per month.

The figure more than doubled to 1,500 last November, but dipped a little to 1,200 in December 2011.

NVPC also runs the SG Cares website, which is a portal for matching volunteers with suitable projects.

Since its launch in 2009, NVPC has matched about 25,000 volunteers.

NVPC said even as Singapore progresses, volunteering has not taken a backseat, based on feedback it has heard on the ground.

Source: CNA