Happy International Volunteer’s Day! This is a day to promote volunteering and recognise the contribution of volunteers. This year’s theme is “Together We Can Through Volunteering”. In a challenging year like 2020, volunteers have been superheroes stepping up in the frontlines, serving the needs of others in Singapore, to become a City of Good.
Here, we talk to Amran who started volunteering in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic. We hope you are inspired by his story and are encouraged to start volunteering to help others.
Tell us about yourself.
I am Amran, and I work as a copywriter. I have been working from home since early April. Through working from home, my time has become more flexible. Outside of work projects, cooking and ‘talking to my plants’, volunteering has become an avenue for me to reach out to the community.
What motivated you to volunteer?
Whilst working from home, I came to know of a lot of friends and family who lost their jobs or had a drastic pay cut. It made community work seem even more vital. Although I cannot give a lot of my money, I can give much of my time and energy.
Why food rescue? With people losing jobs, I can empathise with their challenges of putting food on the table for their families each day.
How did you start volunteering with Food Rescue Sengkang?
I knew about the initiative last year, but this year’s work-from-home situation became the catalyst for me to start volunteering with them. It is also near home hence convenient for me.
I started volunteering with my sister and it has become a great time for us to bond. We have even roped in other family members and friends.
What were you surprised to learn about volunteering?
When I first heard about food rescue, I thought it was redistributing food from food banquets and buffet spreads! Turns out it is redistributing items such as fruits, dried goods, bread and milk. Bananas are the most common.
People may think that it is difficult to volunteer during Covid-19, but I did not find it so. Moreover, it is even more meaningful to volunteer during this challenging period.
I have even become friends with some of the people who come to collect food every weekend.
Describe a day of volunteering.
So I normally volunteer a few of my hours on the weekends. It can be exhausting as we move cartons after cartons of fruits, vegetables and anything salvaged for that day from the drop-off point to main rescue area. Nevertheless I am always touched to see so many people in the queue smiling and grateful to receive the blessings that I have helped to redistribute from wholesalers and grocery stores.
What advice do you have for someone who is considering to volunteer?
Despite Covid-19 restrictions, it is safe to volunteer as safety measures are strictly in place. Social distancing needs to be maintained within queues, as is temperature taking. The TraceTogether app is used, those who do not follow these measures are denied entry.
Aside from that, have a positive mindset. Learn how to manage your time.
What we sometimes need is more human interaction and that is what you can get through volunteering. Nowadays, we are getting more and more attached to technology. Through volunteering, I am grateful for meeting new people and expanding my horizons beyond digital devices.