Every school holiday I try to get the kids to spend at least 1 day doing something for charity. As this June break has been rather hectic, we did not get anything organised. #2 remembered her teacher telling them about Willing Hearts and that anyone can go and volunteer. The good thing is that you don’t need to give them advanced notice and can just drop in and lend a pair (or many pairs) of willing hands!
|#2 brought a friend along
Willing Hearts prepares about 3000 meals everyday for the needy, so you can imagine how much chopping, cooking and packing needs to be done.
We arrived at 10.30 am and the place was a hive of activity. There were many groups of teenagers around and they were all busy with different tasks. We walked right in to see what else was happening and there were many aunties hard at work cooking up a storm. A middle-aged man noticed as wandering in and he immediately asked, “Looking for something to do?”
As he saw that my kids were young (7 – 13 years), he gave us the easy job of preparing the beans. He hauled 2 cartons full of beans onto the table and demonstrated how to pluck off both ends and remove the stringy line running through the beans. Within 5 minutes of entering the premise, we had an assembly line going.
|1st time plucking beans
All was going well until the kids found some little white worms on the beans. “Worms! Worms!” they shrieked. The gallant SJI boys working opposite us helped the kids get rid of the worms. They had been here since 7 am and came with their CCA mates to clock 5 hours for their CIP (community involvement programme), which is mandatory for secondary school students. Besides volunteering in the soup kitchen, you can also help with delivery of the meals or collection of the supplies.
After an hour of plucking the beans, the monotony got to them and when the older boys were needed to help with other tasks like hauling boxes, they took over the chopping which they said was so much more fun.
|Taught how to slice with a slant
We were there for 2 hours and the kids were all hot and tired and asked if we could leave. As there was just a little bit left, I told them to quickly finish up the 2 boxes and we could go for lunch.
Sane tip: This is one of the rare few charities which allow children to volunteer. Unless you are turning up with a big group, you do not need to inform them. As this is basically a giant kitchen, it might not be such a good idea to bring very young children unless you are able to supervise them well. The best time to go seems to be early in the morning as things start to wind down at 12. If you go in the afternoons, it would probably be to help preparing the kitchen for the next day’s cooking.
Save tip: A great way to spend a morning with the kids (or several mornings) to do something meaningful during the school holiday, instead of spending on activities to entertain them. After we cleared up and was about to leave, the nice uncle invited us to stay for lunch as there was a mass lunch prepared. If your secondary school kids need the CIP hours, they have forms there and the uncle will sign it for you.
Willing Hearts (Soup Kitchen)
6 am – 4 pm daily
50 Genting Lane
#04-06 Cideco Building
As of 1 August 2014, they will be moving to a new premise:
11 Jalan Ubi Block 6
#01-51 Kembangan – Chai Chee Community Hub
Thankful… for #5’s cooking and caring of Kate
Thankful… for #3 in so many ways
Thankful… for sister-in-law #1