CHCSA seeks volunteers to serve seniors twice a month for two hours on Saturday mornings.
One Saturday morning. Boxes of mooncakes. Blocks in two HDB estates.
The mission for the 204 CHCSA volunteers gathered on Sep 10 was to bring boxes of free mooncakes to elderly residents in celebration of the Mooncake Festival, to engage them in a short chat and ultimately, to bring a smile to their faces.
They visited a total of 500 units in Pine Close and Toa Payoh Lorong 8, touching the hearts of the elderly recipients with their gifts and friendship. Most of these elderly citizens are vulnerable to social isolation and such visits create an opportunity for the volunteers to interact with them and show them that someone cares.
“One elderly lady held my hand and said in Mandarin, ‘Thank you for coming all the way here to visit me,’” says Sandy Wong, CHCSA’s general manager. “It was really a joy to see the smiles on their faces. We want to let them know that there’s always someone there for them. Even though their family is not around, they can find a family here.”
This initiative is organized by House of JOY, a senior activity center run by CHCSA that is the fruit of COPE, a program for senior citizens that CHCSA, along with a number of church-related community service organisations, was invited to participate in by Southeast Community Development Council.
Since 1999, when COPE first started, volunteers would knock the doors of every single unit in the blocks of the Mountbatten estate to engage the elderly residents weekly. Their aim was to draw them out of their houses and participant in community activities. After 12 years of serving the elderly in that estate, HOJ was born.
Today, HOJ continues to serve with activities like English and Chair Yoga lessons to help the elderly residents live a healthy and active life, complete with social connections.
CHCSA ran a recruitment drive for COPE volunteers during City Harvest Church’s weekend service on Oct 8 and 9. “There are currently 33 blocks of flats in Mountbatten and Toa Payoh area which are under our care,” says Kenny Low, CHCSA’s executive director. “We have identified about 1,300 units that have elderly folks living in them, and out of these 1,300 units, 540 of them have senior citizens either living alone, or as a couple without caregivers. As they begin to age, they will lose their mental and physical abilities. These are the groups of seniors that we want to—and need to—visit on a regular basis.”
CHCSA is targeting to visit them once a month and to achieve that they would need 50 volunteers to serve twice a month on Saturday mornings for two hours.
As Wong puts it, “There’s really not much required. As long as you have a heart and want to love somebody you can be a volunteer. The amount of joy we get while volunteering is immeasurable.”
If you would like to make a real difference and bring cheer to lonely seniors on Saturday mornings, twice a month, please contact CHCSA at firstname.lastname@example.org