Passion for service rekindled, as CHCSA’s volunteers expressed appreciation to each other, and listened to beneficiaries’ expressions of gratitude in their recent volunteer appreciation lunch.
By Peter Hua
Stepping into the ballroom full of people donned in yellow helmets, dungarees and construction vests, one would think that they have entered a conference for construction workers. It was, in fact, CHCSA’s volunteer’s appreciation with the theme Home Improvement—that costume was more than appropriate.
City Harvest Community Service Association held its volunteer appreciation at Hotel Royal, on Feb. 18. The people dressed like construction workers were actually staff of CHCSA hosting the event. The Grand Banquet ballroom was packed with more than 200 hearty volunteers from the different arms of CHCSA.
These arms of CHCSA include POD, a center for youth, Old Friends, a program for elderly, K.I.T.E, a program for children, RAYZ, a program for people with special needs, M.S. Care, a program to help patients with Multiple Sclerosis, First Hand, a service for patients with aids, STAR, a program for families, Talking Hands, a program for hearing-impaired and M3, rehabilitation service aims to help inmates.
Each volunteer was presented with two personalized Lego block when they entered the ballroom and emcees Kelvin Loh and Sandy Wong kicked off the event with an interactive game of human bingo, giving the volunteers from different units of CHCSA a chance to get to know each other.
Among the volunteers was Koh Yong Yun, who has been serving the elderly, CHCSA’s elderly center, for more than eight years. “I serve because I find it a joy helping the elderly and seeing them smile simply tells me that I have impacted their lives in a positive way,” said Koh, a 24-year-old IT Admin Assistant.
Joel Kuek, a 28-year-old teacher, has been serving at POD for 4 months. “I am motivated to serve because I’m able to connect with youths; it’s a joy to see them enjoy themselves. Furthermore, I get to be an inspiration in their lives, and I hope that through my care and concern for them, they will be deeply encouraged,” said Kuek, who also serves in cell group ministry in City Harvest Church simultaneously.
With the thematic line of blue-collar construction work, awards such as Electrician, Plumber, Carpenter, Handyman, and Bricklayer were presented by CHCSA Vice-President Tan Kim Hock. These awards were given based on the volunteers’ outstanding attitude of optimism, leadership, and resilience in the ministry.
Saving the best item for the last, CHCSA’s executive director Darryl Loh then invited the volunteers to show appreciation to their fellow volunteers. They were to give away one of the Lego block, presented to them earlier, to a fellow volunteer who have made a significant impact in their lives, and give the other block to someone he wants to cling on to this coming year. Some were so overwhelmed by the number of Lego blocks received, that they had to build a toy structure with them.
Loh then quoted several letters from beneficiaries who expressed their gratitude towards the volunteers. It was a significant sign of encouragement for CHCSA and the passion of the volunteers were rekindled through the heartfelt tributes. Although they face many challenges while serving, but hearing the words of gratitude made it all worthwhile.
“Well, I guess the initial stages of knowing the youths are very challenging. We got to break the ice, and find common topics to talk about. Sometimes, it’s difficult for me to step into their world, but I’ll give my best nonetheless,” added Kuek, who reaches out to secondary school students at POD.
CHCSA has continually endeavoured to express the ethos of faith and hope through practical demonstrations of love to the community at large. This extends especially to those who are less fortunate, regardless of their race, language and religion. “Let us carry on loving and serving,” said Loh in encouragement to the volunteers.