Since 1988, the Boys Brigade have been reaching out to public supporters to volunteer or donate items to a group in our community. Every Christmas, the Boys Brigade Share-a-Gift (BBSG) campaign sees these boys actively taking time out to help our less fortunate in Singapore.
It is easy to help: simply make a trip to NTUC, pick out food items and leave them with the boys (refer below for General Wishes collection points). Hubs and I have also been doing it for the past few Christmases, but this year will be an exception. Yup, you read right – ain’t missing a “no” there. Read on to find out why.
This year, BBSG 2014 aims to fulfil the wishes of 35,845 beneficiaries. Public can get involved in a few ways:
1) Food Donations (or referred to as “general wishes) – From now till 17 December, donors who wish to fulfil general wishes can drop off their food donations at 13 collection points located at various NTUC FairPrice outlets. See table below to find out where.
2) Adopt a Specific Wish – Those who wish to fulfil specific wishes can adopt a specific wish from any of the six Boys’ Brigade Share-a-Gift Specific Wish Trees in Singapore. Wish contributions can also be made through any AXS station located island-wide.
3) Volunteer: Deliver Food Hampers – When all the donations are packed and prepared, help is needed to send them to the beneficiaries. BBSG also invites Singaporeans to experience a deeper involvement by delivering gifts to the beneficiaries at the public car delivery. Volunteers who wish to take part must register with the BBSG in advance via www.bbshare.sg.
|No.||Name of Location||Nature of Collection|
|1||BBSG Main Box (Braddell Heights Community Hub)||Specific Wishes Tree|
|2||Ang Mo Kio HUB (FairPriceXtra)||General Wishes Collection and Specific Wishes Tree|
|3||Jurong Point (FairPriceXtra)|
|4||nex Mall (FairPriceXtra)|
|5||Singapore Sports Hub (FairPriceXtra)|
|6||Jem Mall (FairPriceXtra)|
|7||Bukit Timah Plaza (FairPrice Finest)||General Wishes Collection – NTUC FairPrice Outlets|
|8||Junction 8 (FairPrice Finest)|
|9||Thomson Plaza (FairPrice Finest)|
|10||Bedok Mall (FairPrice Finest)|
|11||Bukit Merah View|
|14||Toa Payoh HDB Hub|
So, what’s different about this year’s BBSG campaign as compared to previous years? Here’s what the Boys Brigade would like you to know! Details extracted from Press Release.
- Revamped food hampers (to be better cater to the changing needs of beneficiaries)
BBSG’s move to refresh its signature food hampers stemmed from the shifting demographics of the project’s beneficiaries. Recognising that the needs of beneficiaries may have changed over the years, BBSG conducted a review earlier this year with social workers who work directly with the beneficiaries to explore how the donations could better serve them. The feedback received indicated that many adult and elderly beneficiaries lack key nutrients in their food consumption and many preferred items like biscuits and cereals in between meals. The social workers also shared that more charities and non-profit organisations are providing free cooked meals for the less fortunate in Singapore. As such, beneficiaries require smaller quantities for items such as rice and cooking oil.
In light of the feedback and insights from the social workers, BBSG adjusted the quantities of some items in the food hamper such as providing more biscuits, and reducing the quantity of rice and cooking oil. From this year, BBSG will also be providing examples of food categories to better guide donors on the various food items preferred as shared by the social workers. For example, in the category of Beverages, it will be specified that items like MILO, 3 in 1 coffee, 3 in 1 cereal and adult milk powder are preferred. Adult milk powder was added into the mix by BBSG to provide important nutrients like calcium, potassium and vitamin D to adult and elderly beneficiaries.
2. New concept for main box
While the main gift boxes in previous years were used as collection points for food donations, this year’s main box has been transformed into an informative and interactive installation. The exhibition panels showcase the history of BB and BBSG, as well as the project’s significant milestones achieved since inception. The transformation stemmed from BBSG’s intent to increase awareness of the project, and highlight the organisation behind it. Further, BBSG hopes to give Singaporeans a clearer illustration of how the project has evolved over the years – a result of their contributions throughout these 27 years.
Another highlight of the main gift box is a “selfie” corner that BBSG has specially created, complete with props, for members of the public to take pictures at. Individuals are encouraged to post up their “selfies” with the hashtag #BBSG2014, to help spread the word about the project while having fun at the same time. The box will also contain a Specific Wish tree for individuals to fulfil specific wishes.
- Partnership with the Overseas Singaporean Unit (OSU)
Since 2013, BBSG has been exploring collaborations with the Overseas Singaporean Unit (OSU) to involve Singaporeans overseas in the project. Although more Singaporeans were going abroad, many still wanted to lend a helping hand to those in need back home. There were an estimated 212,200 Singaporeans living overseas as of 2014. The discussions came to fruition in August this year, when Camp @ Home, organised by OSU for overseas Singaporean children who return to Singapore for the holidays, adopted BBSG as a beneficiary. The collaboration saw over 30 children aged seven to 12 taking part in the BBSG experience. Not only did they spend a meaningful afternoon packing and delivering food hampers to some 15 beneficiaries, they also gained insights into the lives of the less fortunate in Singapore.
Based on the positive feedback from OSU and the participants, BBSG has explored other ways to provide a channel for overseas Singaporeans keen to contribute to the project. In support of BBSG’s overseas engagement efforts, NTUC FairPrice will be opening up its online portal (www.fairprice.com.sg) for purchases of its online food hampers from outside of Singapore this year. The portal include special donation hampers amounting to $30 or $50 which can be purchased using overseas-issued Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit cards.
An increasing number of Singaporeans are residing overseas due to work, studies or other reasons. Nonetheless, many of them remain firmly connected to Singapore and are keen to do their part to support the less fortunate within our community. BBSG hopes to harness the power of technology to close the geographical distance so that they can be involved in the project as well. With this new channel, overseas Singaporeans will be able to experience the BBSG journey more deeply and join hands with fellow Singaporeans back home to fulfill general wishes, and track the progress of the project on BB’s online portal.
- General supports from corporates
This year, long-time sponsors NTUC FairPrice and Prudential Singapore have returned with their generous support. Apart from being an official online and collection partner, NTUC FairPrice will be contributing $50,000 to BBSG. Prudential Singapore will also be lending physical strength to the project on top of donating $120,000. They will be rallying their staff to adopt wishes, as well as pack and deliver food hampers to beneficiaries. Other cash donors and sponsors include Far East Organisation, Credit Suisse, Lee Foundation, and Tan Chin Tuan Foundation.
The project will also see the participation of Nestlé Singapore for the first time. In this partnership, certain Nestlé products purchased by individuals as food donations will be matched one for one by Nestlé, up to a cap of $100,000. These items include Milo Powder 900g, Milo 3in1 18s, NESTLE OMEGA PLUS 3:6 High Calcium Milk 700g, NESTUM 3in1 Plain Cereal Drink 20s, NESTUM All Family Original 450g, MAGGI 2MIN Curry / Chicken Noodle 5s and NESCAFE 3in1 ORIGINAL 35s. Updates on the food donation collected are regularly updated on their Facebook too.
So, how are we doing it differently this year?
Most of us tend to take food for granted. Weekly grocery shopping is a regular activity for most families, and we are very blessed to have nutritious food on the table every day. Unfortunately, some of us have issues making ends meet and are not able to even have proper meals. As busy working parents, we hope that the community at large (especially the younger generation where material wants seem to be regarded as the norm) are willing to take some simple actions to help others. To baby Vera (if this site still exists in the www when she’s of age!): never take things for granted nor assume things will always be ‘a certain way’. Be thankful with what we have. Above all, learn not to judge things by its surface but look deeper. And fill your heart with compassion and empathy.
Last weekend, we went to Braddell Heights Community Hub and NEX NTUC in hope of checking out the Specific Wishes Tree, but was told that there was a stock- take going on, and the boys didn’t know when there will be wishes to be fulfilled. So the next day, we tried out luck at Bedok Mall NTUC but no heads-up about the Specific Wishes Tree either. We are determined to get it and hopefully be able to help grant some wishes for the beneficiaries. After speaking to the boy at NEX, we understood that the wishes come in varying forms – some might wish for a rice cooker or a fridge – mostly for their household. We’ll be updating on Facebook and Instagram on our Christmas gifting for BBSG – wish us luck!!! :) Guess you’ll know where we’re heading to this weekend!
This Christmas, let’s do our part to make a change in someone else’s life. Be it a tin of milk or a trolley-ful of groceries, every bit counts to improving the lives of another family :)
We didn’t have much luck with the Wishing Tree, hence, we decided to get necessities for the folks. This Christmas, both our families did not receive gifts from us. Instead, their gifts have been gifted to others who needed these groceries. Sending blessings from our families to theirs. May 2015 be a beautiful one for them :)