Caption: From left (Enya, Mrs Chin, Elson, Esme and David)
Since early 2020, Mr David Chin, 42, his wife and three children have delivered some 670 meal packs to frail seniors from TOUCH Home Care (THC). They are part of THC’s pool of 7,000 volunteers who pack and deliver meals, rain or shine, to meet the daily dietary needs of homebound seniors.
“The idea of volunteering came about when I was discussing with my wife about how we could teach our children to care for the disadvantaged in the community. We wanted to them to learn empathy through action. After doing some research, we came to know of the Meals-On-Wheels (MOW) programme and approached TOUCH to find out more,” said David.
Volunteering as a family
Together with his wife, David broached the idea of volunteering with his children. Everyone was excited. With this new commitment, tuition sessions on Sundays had to be rescheduled.
“There are five of us so we usually split the tasks. Some will pack the meals according to the distribution list while others help to check the dietary labels carefully. When it comes to interacting with the elderly, my youngest daughter Esme has a natural flair for putting bright smiles on the elderly’s faces as she greets and waves at them,” added David.
Caption: MOW volunteers Esme, Elson and David's niece Yahan learning to give back to the community
Caption: Inculcating values of kindness and compassion in children
To help recruit more volunteers, David also shared about his family’s positive volunteering experience with his cousin and managed to get her help to rope in her family as MOW volunteers.
“Our MOW experience has taught us so many things we didn’t realise before. My children can now appreciate how blessed they are. They have also learnt how to communicate with the elderly and be responsible for the simple tasks assigned to them,” said David.
Volunteering amidst the pandemic
Caption: David (left) helping to support the needs of frail seniors
When the pandemic started to worsen, David and his wife were concerned about safety issues. David then decided to volunteer alone and sometimes his eldest daughter would tag along.
“Pandemic or no pandemic, the elderly needs to eat. Someone still needs to pack and deliver the food. I realised the elderly are more vulnerable during this pandemic period and they need our help even more,” said David.
When asked about his most memorable experience, David recounted an incident where he saw a previous meal pack hanging at the gate while delivering meals with his eldest daughter. He then realised the elderly was lying on the floor. David quickly alerted THC staff who called the ambulance and rushed the elderly to the hospital.
“This incident impacted me greatly. What if I was not there? What will happen to the elderly? This has made me appreciate the important role volunteers can play - no matter how big or small - in saving lives,” added David.
Like David, everyone can do their part to help our elderly live well and safely in their twilight years in the comfort and familiarity of their home and community.