Riding on Wheels Of Love
Motorcycle charity ride event works with community club, sponsors to bring joy to nursing home residents
At 8.30am on Saturday (Sept 16), a convoy of about 128 motorcycles arrived at the Sunshine Welfare Action Mission (Swami) Home for the Chong Aik International Wheels Of Love (WOL) 2017.
When The New Paper met the 15 volunteers and organisers of the annual charity event on Wednesday, they were putting the final touches to the event stage and packing "gifts of love" and goodie bags for the participants.
The organisers had chosen Swami Home as the charity's beneficiary for this year.
WOL chairman Ricky Loh told TNP: "It is important for us to consider the needs of the beneficiaries. They are different every time.
"We also need to factor in the venue, as there will be many motorcycles participating."
Swami Home, located at Sembawang Walk, is a nursing home for the elderly.
It cares for more than 240 residents and about 150 clients who come for day-care treatment and physiotherapy.
Working alongside Geylang Serai Community Club, as well as sponsors and supporters, WOL 2017 managed to raise about $11,000 for Swami Home.
Also, 242 sets of pyjamas, nine geriatric chairs and three commode chairs will be donated to the Home.
Geylang Serai Community Club management committee chairman James Koh said: "This is the third year we are involved with WOL. We helped by finding donors and raising funds. We hope to grow the event each year."
Since 2012, WOL participants have devoted their time to different causes.
They have listened to elderly patients of one hospital tell stories, cleaned and painted Housing Board flats for the residents and played games with the residents of children's homes.
The interaction with the Swami Home residents is as equally vital as the charity work, said the event's guest of honour, Dr Fatimah Lateef, MP for Marine Parade GRC.
She told TNP: "Philanthropic activity is one aspect of it. The other aspect is human touch and relationships."
She was there on Wednesday night to help with the preparation at Swami Home and recounted how one 92-year-old resident just wanted to "talk story" with her.
Dr Fatimah added: "It does not really matter what they are saying. Sometimes all they need is a listening ear."
Following tradition, the motorcycle convoy started from Geylang Serai Community Centre at Haig Road.
Once at Swami Home, the residents were treated to musical and dance performances.
They also got to know the 300 participants - including the bikers, who are from various motorcycle clubs - during a "befriending session". The participants also served them lunch.