Raising funds for cardboard collectors' meals
A group of volunteers is supporting elderly cardboard collectors and giving them something to look forward to every month.
The Happy People Helping People Foundation was formed in 2013 and works with stalls selling economy rice in estates where the beneficiaries work or live in. The old folk can redeem one meal a day from these stalls using a Happy Friends Card.
Aside from helping with their meals, the group also treats its beneficiaries to a relaxing break once a month. For example, one group went for an outing on July 7 to dip their toes into a fish spa, some for the first time.
It sources for donations on crowdfunding site GIVE.asia to sponsor the meet-ups and meals for the 146 or so elderly cardboard and can collectors.
The group's co-founder, Mr Nafiz Kamarudin, 36, told TNP: "If we encourage the community to be more compassionate to these people, hopefully in the future, the children will take better care of the elderly, and we will see less of these people on the streets."
The group said it is "paying forward" meals for the collectors. On the same week as the fish spa excursion, for example, it paid $4,500 to an economy rice stall in Toa Payoh Lorong 7 for $3 meals for 56 beneficiaries.
Leftover donations are used to buy $50 NTUC FairPrice vouchers for the elderly.
The group, which started with Mr Nafiz and two others, now has a core team of five and about 100 volunteers.
Separately, it also organises outings to places such as the Singapore Flyer. For Mother's Day, the elderly were treated to a DUCKtour, as well as lunch and a buffet dinner.
The foundation has seen more old folk join as beneficiaries. In the first estate it was active in, Toa Payoh, the number has risen from around 20 to 58.
Mr Nafiz said: "(The box collectors) are often more open to (our) help after hearing about the help we provide."
They are currently active in Toa Payoh, Little India, Chinatown, Bedok and Geylang.
The foundation has also collaborated with other organisations, such as the Humanist Society (Singapore).
The society's vice-president Shamima Rafi said: "(It) inspires us. It is a totally ground-up initiative, funded and powered entirely by its volunteers.
Mr Low Chan Lim, an 83-year-old box collector who works around Little India, said he is "grateful" for the help and outings.
"Their help has really lifted my burden. Before that, I could rely only on myself," he added.