10 Tons of Volunteering Fun

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Students transport fully packed, bags of food to and fro from the residents doorsteps to the Food Bank van | Photo by Farah Hazirah

The annual Charity Food Drive organised by Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of Life Sciences & Chemical Technology (LSCT) encourages the community to be active donors

By Farah Hazirah Binte Alavi

Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of Life Sciences & Chemical Technology (LSCT) achieved its target of collecting 10 tons (of food donations from the residents of Bukit Panjang and Clementi, on the morning of Apr 20.

Last year, close to six tonnes of food were collected for the LSCT Service Challenge. This year, about 11 tons of food were successfully collected for the event.

The collected food is sent to Food Bank, which sorts out the food before distributing it to its 130 beneficiary organisations. Beneficiaries of Food Bank include Beyond Social Service, Lions Home For the Elders and HSCA DaySpring.

According to Mrs Tay-Poh Hak Kwee Edna, 55, who is in charge of this event, LSCT’s previous food drives have only been done in Clementi.

However, in 2015, the LSCT Food Drive committee expanded the food collection to Bukit Panjang and collaborated with three NTUC outlets in Clementi to allow the public to take part in the event.

In the days leading up to the event, members of the public donated food items at the food collection booths outside participating supermarkets, allowing LSCT to collect four tons of food before the students were even deployed.

These continuous efforts by LSCT have evidently encouraged the community to increase their level of participation in the event.

Kevin Ang, 20, final-year Landscape Design & Horticulture student, says that compared to his first and second years of volunteering, not only were there more bags of food collected, but the bags were also heavier.

Coming from a low-income family, Kevin understands the needs of the less privileged. As an LSCT student, he has been able to help those in his former plight and sees the fact that he is able to help “his past self” as an achievement.

“Being able to give and contribute back [to the community] makes me happy and grateful,” says Kevin.

Mdm Tay Lay Choo, 67, a resident of Clementi, started contributing to the LSCT donation drive in 2016 after finding out about the event.

“I found out about [the donation drive] when I saw the students gathered at the void deck with the donated food packages, so I went to those mamak (Indian-owned) [stores], bought something and passed it to the students,” says Mdm Tay.

A frequent donor to the Singapore Cancer Society, Mdm Tay strongly believes in helping those in need. She has voiced her support for LSCT’s efforts, saying: “They are doing a good thing. They are helping [less privileged] people, and it’s a good lesson [for the students].”

Although LSCT’s efforts to promote their donation drive have clearly been making an impact, first-year Molecular Biotechnology student, Chelsia Goh, 17, still feels that more can be done.

She feels that LSCT could publicise the event more and come up with other means to get people donating.

Chelsia says: “LSCT should perhaps work on having a social media platform so that they can better reach out to a wider range of audience and through it, we can encourage more citizens to take part in this yearly event.”

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