Spread warmth in this home
When the DORSCON level was raised from Yellow to Orange in February, Singaporeans were gripped by a wave of panic. Ms Sherry Soon, founder of ground-up movement Be Kind SG, decided to do something about it.
“When you are faced with fear, sometimes the way to overcome that is to try to do something bigger than it,” said Ms Soon with the wisdom that only comes with many years of volunteering experience.
“So I thought we could channel our contacts and experience with Be Kind SG to rally Singaporeans to come together for a bigger cause, to show appreciation for the frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19.”
NCID staff receiving care packages
And rally, she did. Within three weeks, she managed to get more than 4,500 volunteers from about 45 schools, organisations and agencies on board the effort to put together 7,000 care packs for the healthcare heroes of Tan Tock Seng Hospital and the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID).
Cards made by students from Farrer Park Primary School
She added, “If you ask me, the best thing about this initiative was helping others put the situation into perspective, getting everyone to think beyond themselves and come together as a community."
“We can still volunteer even if we cannot physically visit”
Ordinarily, Be Kind SG’s regular projects centre around visiting and engaging the residents of welfare homes, holding #CraftforGood sessions to craft birthday cards and hats to gift residents of welfare homes, appreciating “invisible” heroes in the community with various handmade crafts and care packages (these are people whose work are essential in our society and yet are often overlooked) and collaborating with National Kidney Foundation and Singapore Prison Service.
However, COVID-19 has made it difficult to continue such work, which requires a lot of direct physical contact.
“Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, so some of us from Be Kind SG conducted a video chat with the residents from the Thye Hua Kwan Moral Society (THK) Home for Disabled @ Sembawang and are hoping to try it out with Moral Welfare Home. These are Homes we have been regularly volunteering at for the past few years now, so we do miss the residents,” shared Ms Soon.
She added, “We have not been able to see the residents ever since the ban on visitors to the Homes in early February, and while we have been periodically sending over some snacks to try to lift everyone’s spirits, we know that what they really need is human interaction. So, we will try our best to spread some cheer in the video chat, with songs, games and jokes!”
Making the invisible communities visible
Ever since starting Be Kind SG in 2017, Ms Soon has been working tirelessly to increase the visibility of the “invisible” communities of our society. The work may be never-ending, but this is something very close to Ms Soon’s heart and she is determined to do even more for these communities.
When asked about her greatest challenge in all her years of volunteer work, Ms Soon admitted with a wry smile: “As an “invisible” person myself – I live with an autoimmune disease, vasculitis, that flares up now and then – I feel very strongly about the causes we work for. So, I think that I can do it all and I certainly want to do it all! But it’s tiring me out a little. Since last year, I’m slowly learning to let go and share the responsibility with some of my regular volunteers. That way, we can help even more people.”
If you’re keen to be a part of Be Kind SG’s efforts to stand together with Singapore in our fight against COVID-19, do check out their Facebook page for their latest projects.