I’ve never felt so helpless in quite awhile.
Her front gate was unlocked and she beckoned me to come in. I thought it strange not to lock one’s front door but after I entered, what greeted me caught me by surprise. The old lady who warmly welcomed me in earlier was sitting on her hospital bed with both her legs amputated. Placed at a corner of her bed is her prosthetic leg. Her husband soon appeared from the next room in a wheelchair, himself with one leg amputated and the other badly gangrenous. Both aged occupants in that cramped flat are hardly mobile. Yet, they live alone.
We placed our bag of essentials from the BB Share-a-Gift Donation Drive on the sofa. I stood there, surveyed the cramped and messy flat and wondered what else I can do. My daughter stood quietly next to me (she seldom is). I wondered what was going through her mind. I knew sadly that at that moment we couldn’t do much except to say ‘God Bless you’, hoping that our words will bring God’s blessings onto this couple this yuletide season. We then conversed briefly in a smattering of Malay where they explained their ‘legless’ condition as well as the state of the flat to us.
After this, we proceeded on to another home with an elderly Malay lady inside who refused us entry at first. We had to convince her countless times that we are here to give her the food items for free. Initially she refused to open the door but finally she caught sight of Dana and reckoned that these folks meant no harm especially since they came with a little girl. Perhaps it took her so long to believe us because it is uncommon for strangers to come up and bless her.
The festive season is a season of abundance and merry-making for most of us but it saddened me to know that there are these less-fortunate, destitute people living among us who are filled with doubt and skepticism because they have subscribed to the belief that goodness and kindness in this world have been removed from their lives. This, despite staying in one of the richest countries in the world.
The next hour or so, we went on to deliver these heavy bags of BB-Share-a-Gift food hampers to another few more homes and continued to witness the poor state of existence some of these needy folks live in. I’m not new to community service, even to impoverished places like Cambodia. But to be reminded again of the dire needs of our own countrymen here in affluent Singapore and their mindset filled with a sense of hopelessness, bitterness and overall pessimism just gets to me. It reminded Angie and I once again that we can all do more.
There is hope: while struggling to carry the heavy Share-a-Gift food hampers from the carpark to the void decks with our umbrellas (it was raining heavily), we walked past a young delivery man who was on his way to the van. On normal days we would have just walked past each other but today, he came forward and asked if we needed any help. After explaining to him our mission, he volunteered to help us wheel the items to all the homes we were going to despite his delivery schedule! Yes, if we step forth, there are those out there who are willing to step forth together with us. It only takes a spark to get a fire going…
Like most families here in Singapore, we are constantly looking out for things to occupy our children this December holidays. In the midst of all the busy Christmas shopping, feasting and holidaying, let us not forget the essence of this season – sacrificial love. And may we all take some time to demonstrate that to our kids by supporting the BB-Share-a-Gift.
How You Can Play a Part (from now till 17 December 2014):
1. Donate Groceries at these Collection Centres and NTUC Outlets
2. Donate a Food Hamper Online (S$30 or S$50)
3. Volunteer to Deliver Food Hampers (like we did!)