The year-end festive season is a special time for Christians. As we rejoice and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, we spend the days leading to Christmas enjoying good food and shopping for gifts for loved ones.
But festive occasions feel very different for the people we serve. It is not unusual for some of them to be working when they should be enjoying quality time with family. And it can be an especially challenging time for isolated seniors who live alone, and low-income families who cannot afford to buy gifts for their children.
One such family is that of Mdm Tan*. She and her husband, Mr Lim*, are on our MWS Family Development Programme (FDP). Two years ago, they owed over $3,000 from items bought on instalment from a leading appliance store, and more than $1,000 in housing arrears. This was on top of their utilities, telco and town council payment debts. Their younger daughter, Fen*, suffered from meningitis when she was a baby, which resulted in a lifetime of health issues. The family of four survived on Mr Lim’s monthly gross salary of $1,800 as a kitchen assistant. The young couple felt like they were drowning in debt, and the bills kept piling up.
Today, with the support and intervention of the community and their befriender, they have cleared their debts. Mr Lim has also secured a better-paying job. For the first time, the family has money left at the end of the month, which they faithfully deposit into their savings account. Each dollar they saved is matched with $2 from MWS FDP, and they are projected to have $5,000 saved by the time they graduate from the programme. They have also picked up some financial planning skills. This Christmas, these parents are finally able to afford gifts for their two daughters, Fen, four, and Lin*, seven.
This festive season, Mdm Tan’s family was given the reason to celebrate—hope.
Your giving can turn helplessness into hope. On behalf of nearly 12,000 families and individuals who have experienced holistic care and support through our centres and programmes, thank you for your generosity and compassion for others.
*Names have been changed to protect their identity.
By the Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) Communications Team
Visual courtesy of Methodist Welfare Services