Photo credit: Tiffany Seng

IMPACT 0136: EVERY ACT OF SERVICE MAKES A DIFFERENCE

Tiffany Seng is an undergraduate studying in the School of Economics in Singapore Management University. In partnership with a non-governmental organisation in China, she volunteered with her church to raise money for a region in China. During the COVID-19 period, she also volunteered for her church’s Meals-on-Wheels programme, where they delivered food to homebound or frail elderly who do not have the means to cook or buy their own food.

Hi Tiffany, thanks for being part of this! Could you tell us more about yourself and what you are passionate about?

Hi, I’m a student currently studying at the School of Economics in Singapore Management University. In general, my heart goes out towards the elderly who are in need and do not have people to care for them. Especially at their old age, they need us to show our care and love towards them.

That is great to hear! How have you been giving back to the elderly or society in general?

Before COVID-19, I, together with my church, used to gather pre-loved clothes and soft toys, as well as raise money for people in China. We partnered with a non-governmental organisation in China to help the villagers living in the region they served.

We would go teach in schools there, as well as make home visits to some of the villagers to give them gifts and show our support. I went on such trips for three consecutive years, until COVID-19 made it impossible to go.

During the COVID-19 period, I was looking for other ways to help those in need, and was introduced to the Meals-on-Wheels programme that my church’s social arm runs. Meals-on-Wheels is our initiative to deliver food to homebound or frail elderly people who may not have the means to cook to buy their own food. I volunteered twice a week prior to my internship period.

Was there a particular incident that compelled you to volunteer with these various initiatives?

The first time I went on a volunteer trip to China, it really softened my heart for those in need.

It also helped me understand that no matter how much we do, we cannot help everyone.

However, we should still do what we can to whomever we can reach out to, so at least some people can get the help they need.

Could you share with us some challenges you have faced though this volunteering journey and what motivates you to keep doing what you do?

I would say not always having time is a challenge. Sometimes I do get busy so volunteering may not be a priority in those seasons.

But I believe in staying true to your commitments. It is those commitments that keep me going.

Every time I volunteer with Meals-on-Wheels during a busy period of my life, it is like an opportunity cost to doing other things. However, when I meet the elderly and see them happy, I also believe that what I am doing is meaningful.

Do you have any future plans to volunteer?

I have been volunteering at my church’s care centre for about half a year and I plan to continue as long as I have the time and means to do so. It is all about planning and being intentional with my time. So far, I’ve planned that once my internship period ends and school starts again, I will volunteer with Meals-on-Wheels once again in between my class timings.

Is there anything you would want others to know about volunteering?

If you want to volunteer, ask those who run the programme for the days they need more volunteers and try your best not back out last minute. Agencies tend to have days with an overload of volunteers and other days with very few, usually because volunteers don’t show up as promised. This makes it very difficult for the full-time staff who have to redistribute tasks last minute just to ensure our beneficiaries receive their food that day.

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