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Joyous memories for a joyous New Year

Project Home Sweet Home captures the spirit of giving this Lunar New Year

In celebration of the coming Lunar New Year, local volunteer group The Volunteer Switchboard (VSB) today distributed food items to needy residents in the Jalan Kukoh neighbourhood, bringing the community together in the spirit of family and giving.

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Volunteers deliver food goodie bags to needy residents in Jalan Kukoh on 8 Feb 2015

The pre-Chinese New Year distribution was the latest in a series of monthly sessions organised by the group for its outreach initiative in Jalan Kukoh, termed Project Home Sweet Home.  Some 60 volunteers gathered at Jalan Kukoh RC, which served as the base in a neighbourhood of mostly rental flats. Volunteers at the distribution drive included numerous residents who are beneficiaries of the goodie packs themselves and had volunteered to help bring these packs to their neighbours.

“When we first started Project Home Sweet Home, it took awhile before the resident volunteers grew receptive to the idea of volunteering to help their neighbours. Now, they look forward to the sessions and some even bring their little ones to join us. The best part of this initiative is seeing the community pull together and show such concern for one another,” said Ms Li Woon Churdboonchart, founder of VSB.

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Young children helping to pack goodie bags for VSB's pre-CNY distribution. Several young families came with children in tow for the session

VSB hopes to empower the Jalan Kukoh community to help the needy in their midst by building a system that can be driven by the residents themselves.

“The long-term goal of this initiative is to create a self-sustaining programme involving everyone in Jalan Kukoh. Subsequently, if we can bring such a system to more vulnerable neighbourhoods all around Singapore, it is an opportunity for kindness in the community to blossom and spread,” said Ms Churdboonchart.

Among the variety of items distributed were products pledged by the general public under the Singapore Kindness Movement’s hashtag campaign conducted in late 2014. The campaign encouraged netizens to document acts of kindness and graciousness on social media, using the hashtag #NationofKindness. A total of 6,000 hashtags were used over three months, corresponding to 6,000 items donated by SKM’s corporate partners Gardenia, F&N and Super Group.

VSB is one of four groups that SKM worked with to bring these 6,000 items to needy households in various batches. The distributions have taken place over the past three months and are targeted to conclude by April of this year.

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Volunteers were empowered to manage the process so as to encourage ownership over the initiative. Numerous items were contributed by SKM's corporate partners in support of its hashtag campaign.

“When you think about volunteerism, what comes to mind is the well-to-do giving up their time to help those in need. However, what The Volunteer Switchboard has done here shows that kindness recognizes no creed or status; it simply exists to better the lives of everyone around you. A little kindness truly goes a long way and it starts with each and every one of us,” said Dr William Wan, general secretary of SKM.

For more information, visit www.thevolunteerswitchboard.org or http://kindness.sg/