Three cell groups spend a meaningful Sunday morning sprucing up the homes of old folks.
Contributed By Irene Chia and Samantha Low
|PHOTO BY EMILY TAN|
Under the sweltering heat of an early morning sun, 60 youngsters came together for a spot of spring cleaning for the Lunar New Year. The youth consisted of members from a zone led by Wu Yuzhuang, a pastor of City Harvest Church.
Armed with tins of paint, brushes, brooms and mops, the youth headed down to eight one-room flats at Pipit Road to clean and paint the flats of some senior citizens, to help them get ready for the festive occasion. Many of these elderly folk live by themselves and are physically limited. Most are unable to do the cleaning and painting themselves.
One volunteer, Choy Xue Ting commented, “This is my first time volunteering for such a meaningful project. I may not have much money, but I have strength. I want to give in whatever way I can.”
The thought of being able to help the elderly spurred the youngsters on. After a short briefing by their team leader, the group quickly set to work, dividing themselves into teams. Some were tasked to scrub floors, some to clean toilets, others to paint walls, while those who were able were tasked with fixing broken furniture and appliances. Every volunteer displayed enthusiasm and willingness, no matter what task he or she was given.
A team of six to eight people were assigned to one flat. “Many of us realized that painting is actually more difficult than it looks. There were very few of us who had prior experience. Nevertheless, knowing that a new coat of paint would brighten someone’s day, we persevered through the difficulties,” said volunteer Samantha Low.
To put the elderly at ease with their presence, the young people took time to chat with their beneficiaries. As the day progressed, conversations grew heartfelt and candid as the young listened to the old share their life stories and their views on life. In spite of the language barrier (most of the elderly spoke dialect), the volunteers were able to relate to the residents by being patient and sensitive, and by lending a listening ear.
Volunteer Jermaine Chen observed, “Many of the residents are lonely, living life day to day in the same routine. By coming here today, spending time talking to them and sprucing up their homes, we want them to know that they are valued. It’s really heartwarming to know that our efforts have blessed someone’s life.
“Through the cleaning and painting, people’s needs were met. That’s worth so much more than sleeping in on a Sunday morning. Through this project, we’ve gained much more than we have given.”
The group of volunteers came from different walks of life and different cell groups, but they were united by an experience that left a lasting memory in their hearts and minds. Organizer of Project Dream Home, Irene Chia, 28, said, “We hope to make this a yearly affair, going back to the homes of these elderly before the next Chinese New Year to help them spring clean their homes in preparation of the festive season.”