Workers from City Harvest Church’s Children Church, JAMs Church and Dialect ministry did home visitations and distributed masks amid the smog crisis.
Singapore was covered in thick haze the past week, caused by forest fires in Sumatra, Indonesia and the dry weather conditions.
To safeguard the health of the elderly, Dialect Church, JAMs Church and Children’s Church services were cancelled. But the staff and volunteers did not take a break. The workers, together with 550 volunteers, were out doing home visitations, bringing 3-ply surgical masks, biomasks and N95 masks to the young and old.
“When the haze came and PSI was unpredictable, we were very concerned about the health of the children,” says Eileen Toh, pastor of Children’s Church. “Following the National Environment Agency’s guidelines, children and elderly were the main groups of people that needed to stay indoors and wear masks. Immediately, my workers and I work out the places that we needed to visit and to distribute masks to. We wanted the families to know that we care, and we don’t want (them) to be stressed out by not being able to obtain any masks.”
Toh and her team approached a church member who works as a pharmacist to teach them the right way of wearing masks. “Knowing how to wear the mask is even more important than having it. We taught our workers how to use the masks so they could in turn teach the elderly, the children and people with special needs when we visit them. Our message is simple: we care.”
Over this and next weekend, Children’s Church plans to distribute 2000 masks to the children, while JAMS and Dialect Church plan to distribute 500 masks to people with special needs and the elderly. These masks were donated by members of the church.
John Koh, 39, a medical social worker spent his Sunday afternoon distributing masks to the elderly Dialect Church members residing in Bedok and Lavender. Together with another volunteer, Koh hand-delivered 40 masks to the elderly and their family members.
“Some of the seniors were very surprised and grateful to see us—they thought that we wouldn’t be visiting them since there was no Dialect Service. They were very touched that we went to see them in spite of the haze,” said Koh.
“Many of the seniors also received masks from the senior activity centers, where they were educated on measures to take to protect themselves from the haze. But there were also those who couldn’t get the masks, either because they couldn’t afford them or because they couldn’t find them in the stores. They were very grateful that the church had actually prepared masks for them.”