For the second year in a row, City Harvest Children’s Church organizes the Bag Of Love project to bless less fortunate children.
By Jonathan Teo
What can a bag do? When filled with gifts, it can put a smile on a child’s face this Christmas.
“We started with the Box Of Love last year,” explained Glordia Goh, a pastor of City Harvest Children’s Church. “We wanted to provide our church members an opportunity to bless the less privileged members of their church family.”
The beneficiaries of the bags are needy children from Children’s Church and the JAMs Church members, who are intellectually-disadvantaged.
Box Of Love turned out to be so successful that the CHCC team decided they would do it again, this time with Bag Of Love. In this campaign which ended on Dec. 16, members were encouraged to adopt one or more bags and to fill them with brand new items—school supplies, story books, toys, food items—to be presented to the beneficiaries. The target for this year’s campaign was 1,100 bags.
City News spoke with four different groups of givers to find out what is in their Bag Of Love.
Teaching A Lesson On Giving
Civil servant Carol Loi, 41, with her two daughters, Nicole, 10, and Gillian, 7, adopted two Bags Of Love.
Loi used this project as a learning point for her daughters. “They had to make decisions based on what a person with special needs will need, instead of what they want; and they also needed to learn to work within a budget,” she explained. “It is part of the season of spreading love.”
Gillian’s bag contained a pack of Mega Bubbles, star stamps, and a set of Faber Castell art materials (color pencils, markers, glue, erasers, connector pens, a drawing block).
Nicole’s bag contained star stamps, a set of Faber Castell art materials (color pencils, markers, glue, erasers, connector pens, a drawing block), stickers and a color pad.
Newly engaged couple, Leow Huimei, 27, a student and Andre Jusuf, 26, a project manager, filled Bags Of Love. For them, giving was about sharing the joy of Christmas, especially with the children in Children’s Church.
“God has been good to us; the least we could do is to share this joy of Christmas, the season of giving. There is much joy by just imagining the smiles of happiness when the children receive the bags,” said the couple.
Leow and Jusuf both bought a range of stationery such as files, color pencils, notebooks and pencils. Simple though these are, the couple hopes that the items would be significant and meaningful to the children. The colorful stationery is meant to motivate the children to do their schoolwork.
The couple explained that they included notebooks to encourage the children to write down their weekly sermon notes and revelations. Leow and Jusuf were personally impacted by the My In-flections journal given by the church last year, and have been using it to record their own revelations. Journaling, they said, would help the children to become strong Christians.
E402, a cell group of 20 youths, packed 20 small goodie packs into two Bags Of Love. Since it is a season of giving and sharing, the group put 10 goodie packs into one bag so that the child who receives the bag can share his or her gift with nine other friends. “It’s to pass on the love they receive to others,” they said.
The leader of the group, 27-year-old quality officer Jasmine Kon, felt that the project was “significant for the members of the group; not only were we contributing to the needy, we were doing it together. Every member contributed by helping to buy and pack the items into a goodie pack.”
Each goodie bag consisted of pencils, a sharpener, jelly pops, lollipop, a packet of Oreo cookies, hair bands and hair clips.
Educational therapist Rachel Tan, 25, prepared her gifts by giving careful thought to what a student might need in school.
Tan decided to take part in the Bag Of Love project because she felt that it was a meaningful cause. “I didn’t have much when I was a kid and I came from a middle income family; so I cannot imagine how much more a needy child will need. I think to be able to contribute to the life of a child is a brilliant idea, so I took a bag,” she said.
Her bag was filled with stationery such as an exercise book, color pencils and a sketchbook. There was also a Thea Stilton storybook, a golden hairband, a purple file, Snap playing cards and a Bible. However, all work and no play makes for a dull child, so Tan added two soft toys into the bag. “Every kid ought to have a toy,” she noted.
Tan also packed in S$10 Popular vouchers and S$2 Mr Bean vouchers “so that the child can enjoy little luxuries in life”; and an Oral B toothbrush because “a needy child might use the same toothbrush for a prolonged period of time.”