EXACTLY A YEAR AGO, in February 2010, The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS) launched a Community Outreach Project to help the chronically poor in Singapore in celebration of the MCS’ 125th Anniversary.
While the year-long celebration is over, the community project is still continuing, well into 2011. Since April 2010, the number of families visited rose steadily through the months, starting from a modest 74 to well over 500 by September.
Initially, a few befrienders signed up for the project as there was little awareness of the project. However, as more church members came to know about it, they were convicted of the call to bring God’s blessings to the poor. There was a surge in befriender sign-ups, between June and July 2010, and by October 2010, the target of getting 2,000 befrienders was achieved. In fact, more than 2,000 signed up.
Now, more than 1,000 families are being assisted by more than 2,000 befrienders, members from all 44 Methodist Churches. Every month, these faithful befrienders, encouraged to go out in pairs, are reaching out to those in need by visiting them and blessing them, not only with a cheque for $125 every month, but also with their time and social support.
The needy families come from all races, religions and all areas in Singapore, referred by Family Service Centres, Community Development Councils, the community, hospitals and other agencies.
This project has truly been one of collaboration among God’s people, working in unity: the Methodist Churches, the church members, donors and volunteers, together with our partners in the social service community. We are thankful that together we have been able to be a blessing to those in need.
Befrienders touched by their experiences
We share here the responses on the project from members of this one body. Not only were the families blessed, befrienders are sharing about how the project has enriched their own lives.
At a recent befrienders’ gathering at Pentecost Methodist Church, many shared their experiences with the chronically poor families:
“We thank God that we can reach out to people of other races.”
“We want to help the three children so we buy them assessment books.”
“ The family we visit lacks friendship and people to talk to them.”
Another befriender wrote of how he took his family along during the visitations: “We took our boys along with us again because we saw that it brought a smile to the wife’s face the previous month … they invited us for Hari Raya, it was a simple but delicious meal. Their generosity and sensitivity touched us.”
Appreciation from social service agencies
“I received a call from Mr Chin* and he was very appreciative and grateful for the financial assistance rendered by your kind organisation. He would like to say a big “ ank you” as he can have more regular and nutritious meals now.” – Medical social worker, Hospital.
“I thank you on behalf of our needy clients for your organisation’s generous assistance and your compassionate befrienders. is is a very good project and I have received good feedback and gratitude from our clients.” – Social worker, Family Service Centre.
“I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude for the generosity and kindness in helping the poor and needy. On behalf of the recipients, thank you for the generosity and for showing God’s love.” – Social worker, Family Service Centre.
A family who is benefitting from the MCS 125th Anniversary project wrote in a “ Thank You” card: “ ank you very much for your cheques, which helped our family tide through this diﬃcult period. We are very touched, and at the same time, we thank the befriender sisters who specially deliver the cheques to my home ank you again.”
* name has been changed to protect the privacy of the beneficiaries.
Pearl Lee is the Group Director – Communications & Fund Raising, Methodist Welfare Services.
A BIG ‘THANK YOU’!
AS THE PROJECT’S ADMINISTRATOR, the Methodist Welfare Services would like to express its heartfelt appreciation to all parties who have made this project possible – the local churches, agencies and especially the befrienders who have committed their time and eﬀort to visiting the families every month.
Thank you for serving with us.