He helps provide daily necessities to 250 elderly
PHOTO COURTESY OF AIDAN YEOH
For the first 28 years of his life, home for Mr Vincent Goh, 35, was a two-room rental flat in Bukit Merah.
So when he wanted to start a charity project, the first thing that came to mind was the elderly poor living at Bukit Merah.
Together with four of his friends, he launched "A Packet Of Rice" in September 2012.
Twice a month, the group distributes lunch boxes and other necessities such as shampoo and detergent to 250 elderly folk living in rental flats in Bukit Merah. They also organise social activities for these elderly residents.
The group held a Chinese New Year lunch celebration for 210 elderly folk last Saturday.
Each resident also received a goodie bag containing food items bought with donations from the public.
Mr Goh, a public servant, said: "The amount of support and trust we get from the public is simply amazing. We received enough donations for the goodie bags within an hour of posting our appeal on Facebook."
The project is mainly supported by donations from the public, with occasional corporate sponsorships.
The bonds forged with the elderly are just as important as the food distribution itself, said Mr Goh, who is single and lives in a four-room flat in Yishun.
He said: "Over time, we have built rapport with the elderly residents. They are always very excited to see us and would come out of their flats to wait for us."
Each distribution session involves 40 volunteers, including members of the public who volunteer on an ad-hoc basis.
Mr Goh said: "We do have several children joining us during the school holidays. For many of them, it is the first time they are seeing one- and two-room rental flats."
Last year, the group created its slogan "Reaching out, Inspiring others".
Mr Goh said: "By joining our distribution sessions, we hope our volunteers will be inspired to start their own projects and give back to society in their own ways."
The group's Facebook page has more than 15,000 likes and Mr Goh said he receives e-mails seeking his advice on how to start a charity project.
He said: "Before starting a project, it is important to know which sector of society you are passionate about. It's also useful to work with an existing organisation that is relevant to your cause to know how you can best help."
Although Mr Goh hopes to continue the project for as long as possible, he admitted that the group faces certain constraints.
"All five of us in the project's core team hold full-time jobs," he said.
"When personal commitments start to increase, we might have to relook the scale of our project."