Former, current Singapore athletes doing extra workouts in aid of Food Bank charity
Several former and current local athletes start Instagram campaign in aid of The Food Bank S'pore
The disruption to her sporting routine caused by the coronavirus pandemic offered Stephenie Chen food for thought.
No longer able to paddle her canoe across the banks of the Kallang River, the five-time SEA Games gold medallist decided to peddle her athletic ability to help The Food Bank Singapore.
The 28-year-old rallied five other current and former local athletes, including her canoeist sister Sarah, to encourage donations to the charity by offering to do 10 repetitions of an exercise for every person who takes a screenshot of their donation and tags her on Instagram.
The Food Bank Singapore, which collects food and distributes it to those in need, told CNA in February that with volunteerism dropping due to Covid-19, people can still help by donating, so the charity can ensure their beneficiaries do not go hungry.
The Chens, former sprinter and hurdler Dipna Lim-Prasad, swimmer Amanda Lim, ex-Paralympic medallist swimmer Theresa Goh and Paralympic swimming champion Yip Pin Xiu started the campaign on Instagram last Sunday and have garnered 11 donations worth over $750, as of last night.
The sextet are no strangers to charitable causes, with most of them part of an athlete's collective called Heartwork, who have in the past given out packs with basic necessities to less-privileged families.
Lim-Prasad, meanwhile, co-founded In My Shoes, which collects and spruces up new and old sports shoes before distributing them to underprivileged kids and at-risk youths.
Stephenie told The New Paper: "We've been trying to get something going and we saw The Food Bank mention that they needed help delivering food to the needy and funds. Because of Covid-19, they have (fewer) volunteers and stuff.
"And as an athlete, I'm relatively unaffected. The most I can't do right now is paddle on the water, so I'm still pretty fortunate.
"There are people out there who are really affected and need help... I still have to do my training (at home), so I'll just take this as part of that."
In response to the initiative, The Food Bank Singapore's senior management associate, Jessie Tan, said: "We are heartened to see people coming forward to support our cause in every way possible during these tough times...
"If anyone would like to do good and feel good by keeping healthy, they can also volunteer with us and carry some cartons of food at our warehouse."
Yip, Singapore's first Paralympic gold medallist and a current Nominated Member of Parliament, said one of the reasons the group decided on The Food Bank Singapore is that "food makes people happy", particularly during difficult times.
Said the 28-year-old: "We have been friends for a few years and we just randomly chat in our group chat every day.
"It took a collective effort to want to do something in this situation to help people who need it more. So when Stephenie suggested... The Food Bank, we all came on board pretty quickly...
"Especially in the current situation, food makes people happy, and it's nice to do something nice for other people."
The group are still firming up how they will distribute and document the reps once the initiative ends on Saturday.
But they will allocate the reps of exercises such as push-ups, burpees and squats among themselves based on their strengths and potentially document it via the video chat app Houseparty.
Lim-Prasad might have hung up her spikes in 2018, but the mother of one remains confident that she will be able to polish off her reps.
Said the 28-year-old: "I'm definitely going to finish it. I've still got the stubborn athlete mentality... it's just whether I can feel my legs the next day."
Just as she said that, her baby Tien Poh started crying and Lim-Prasad quipped: "I think I might have to do squats while carrying the baby."