Claudine Fernandez, Volunteer Writer, SCC
A striking feature at the South Central Community Family Service Centre (SCC) is the Request and Offer Board (R&O Board), a platform for members to exchange goodwill. The board is divided in two: an area where members (SCC’s beneficiaries) could request for things that they need and another area where the community could post for items that they would like to offer to others.
It is no wonder that this R&O Board caught the attention of Jodie, a lawyer in her 50s living in the neighbourhood. She was intrigued by the board and enquired about it at the centre.
After learning about the purpose of the board, Jodie felt compelled to meet the needs of some of the members. She began by buying a football for a boy and then a sewing machine for a single mother who would use it to support her three young children and her elderly mother-in-law.
The board was just the springboard for her other generous contributions to the community. After having a conversation with one of the gardeners in the centre, she was moved by the anecdotes of people struggling and was determined to help in other ways. She is a regular donor to the centre’s Goodwill Store, and has been providing free legal advice to members who need it. She has even offered to help some of the less fortunate members clear their debts.
Until now, Jodie has chosen to remain anonymous and never expects to be publically acknowledged for her generosity. She believes that she has already received much joy in giving, despite going through depression. Inspired by those she helps, she says, “If people can be so brave, I can be brave as well.”
The late Madam Rosiah, a single parent who lived with her 14-year-old son, probably shared the same sentiment. In early 2014, she was undergoing palliative care at home because she had advanced stage cancer. Before she passed on, she offered her brand new tower fan, which she had received as a gift. She already had two fans at home and felt that somebody else could make better use of the tower fan.
She was right. The tower fan went to a middle-aged lady, Agnes, who lived in a three room flat by herself. By the time Agnes had received the fan, Madam Rosiah had already passed on. Nevertheless, Madam Rosiah’s actions had really touched Agnes and this prompted her to ask the centre about the giver of the tower fan. When she learned that Madam Rosiah had left behind a son, she wanted to write a note to her son to show her appreciation. In the note, she wrote:
“Your mother is amazing because she thinks of other people’s needs. I have received the fan and I can feel the love that she had for others. Be strong because your mother is very strong.”
Both Jodie and Madam Rosiah are testament to the fact that it doesn’t take much to bring joy to others and to oneself. All it takes is a kind heart and a generous spirit.