Over 4,000 individuals participated in the recently concluded The Giving Methodist campaign, which was jointly spearheaded by The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS) and Methodist Welfare Services (MWS). Over 1,000 people volunteered their time; nearly 3,000 gave their voice; and over 380 donors contributed over $260,000 to help the poor and those in need.
The enthusiastic response is encouraging to MWS, which, as the Social Concerns arm of MCS, has been partnering with Methodist churches to run and fund some of our centres for over 30 years. Since the beginning of our partnership with Paya Lebar Methodist Church (PLMC) to co-manage MWS Covenant Family Service Centre – Hougang in 1987, MWS has expanded its church collaboration to 12 other churches.
In recent years, MWS has been ramping up efforts to engage the Methodist community. Our push began in May 2015 with the launch of the MWS Ambassadors initiative, which invites social concerns committee members from local Methodist churches to serve as a bridge between their church and MWS. Their role is to inform the church about MWS’ latest campaigns, and encourage the congregation to give and serve as volunteers.
One of our key campaigns is the Creating Change Campaign (CCC). To ensure a continued stream of funds to sustainably support over 9,000 beneficiaries, potential and current donors are encouraged to commit themselves as regular donors at $1 a day. Currently, fewer than 200 monthly donors have signed up through CCC. We hope that more Methodists will choose to make an impact on lives by giving monthly support to MWS’s 19 centres and programmes.
MWS has also developed programmes to enhance engagement with beneficiaries. Our Befriender Programme connects Methodists to our work on the ground by training and inducting them as volunteers at our centres. Methodist churches and organisations have also been invited to participate in the Poverty Simulation Exercise (PSE), during which participants can walk in the footsteps of the poor through the re-enactment of their circumstances. Past participants of these initiatives said that they were better able to empathise with the less fortunate, better equipped to serve them better, and more inclined to help others in the future.
On the youth engagement front, our annual Impacting Lives Challenge has so far seen encouraging participation for two editions – a fundraising running event, and a photography challenge. We have also received strong volunteering involvement from Methodist schools for their Values in Action projects.
In the year ahead, MWS aims to deepen engagement and strengthen relationships with partnering Methodist churches through more unique events and campaigns. The planning of a second edition of The Giving Methodist campaign in 2019, for example, is currently underway.
By The Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) Communications Team
Photos courtesy of the Methodist Welfare Services