As the coronavirus in Asia outbreak dominates news headlines and people’s minds, especially in countries with confirmed cases such as Singapore, a place I call home, finding ways to support victims and vulnerable communities, and those fighting the pandemic on the frontlines has become more critical than ever.
Instead of letting panic, stress and fear become the norm in our lives, I encourage everyone to channel our thoughts and resources to help those that most need it, and the people that play a vital role in containing and overcoming this far-reaching, deadly disease.
For those keen to donate or volunteer their time, I have put together a list of organizations that provide vital support to those impacted by the virus, and who have taken the lead in relief and recovery efforts:
1. Give2Asia, a fundraising platform and one of the few international NGOs approved by the government to support local causes in China, is collecting donations to purchase medical supplies and equipment, support the construction of temporary hospitals, and subsidize food and lodging for frontline workers in China. Through its local charity partners, funds are also used to initiate mid- to long-term recovery efforts, including mental health treatment and rehabilitation for healthcare professionals and epidemic prevention and education.
2. Launched by the Community Foundation of Singapore, the Sayang Sayang Fund aims to support frontline healthcare workers and vulnerable communities affected by the coronavirus. Among others, the donations will help finance home visits for the elderly, alternative food distribution channels for low-income families, and free taxi vouchers for healthcare professionals. How can you help? Donate on giving.sg or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations above $50 are tax-deductible.
3. The Singapore Red Cross Society (SRC) has started a public appeal for donations to deliver assistance, including medicine, medical supplies and diagnostic kits for use in laboratories, to the communities worst affected by the epidemic in China. The SRC is also raising awareness of precautionary measures in Singapore to reduce the risk of contracting or transmitting the virus. How can you help? Besides the seed funding provided by the government, the general public can contribute too, by donating on the SRC website or giving.sg. or by starting your own fundraising event. To find out more about how the funds will be deployed, please contact email@example.com.
4. Set up in 2003 to support victims of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and administered by the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) and its fundraising arm, the Community Chest, the Courage Fund will continue to provide support to patients, healthcare workers and the wider community impacted by the coronavirus. How can you help? To complement the financial support pledged by the President’s Challenge, as well as companies and corporate foundations, including Great Eastern and Keppel Care Foundation, citizens can donate on giving.sg.
5. With students and employees encouraged to avoid crowded areas, food banks have experienced a drastic drop in cash/food donations and volunteer participation. As Singapore saw a panic-induced mayhem of binge-buying, many questioned whether the resulting empty supermarket shelves would prevent vulnerable communities from accessing basic necessities.
As citizens stock up on food and sanitization supplies in their own homes, food redistribution non-profits Food from the Heart, Food Bank Singapore, Free Food For All and Willing Hearts urge not to forget about those in need who might physically struggle to do their own grocery, or may not be able to afford it. Those in need can access free food is distributed to those in need at Food from the Heart’s newly opened community shop in Mountbatten, or the community fridges in Yishun stocked by donors and food rescuers, but more support is needed.
How can you help? Donate on giving.sg, or sign up to volunteer with Food Bank Singapore, Willing Hearts, Free Food for All or Food from the Heart to help with sorting, taking inventory, packing and delivering food donations.
6. During a time where medics and caregivers are in higher demand than ever, the Home Nursing Foundation is raising funds to purchase essential medical supplies, and enable nurses to continue to provide medical, therapy and personal care services to vulnerable patients in the comfort of their home. How can you help? Donate on giving.sg.
7. Ang Mo Kio Family Service Centre (AMKFSC) is raising funds to prepare appreciation packs for the 9,000 professionals that work tirelessly in Singapore’s healthcare institutions to fight the epidemic. The packs will contain cookies and other baked products from Bakery Hearts, an AMKFSC programme that empowers low-income women who struggle to find employment to pick up baking, re-enter the workforce and supplement their household income. How can you help? Donate on giving.sg.
8. Launched by outdoor camp operators FutuReady and Innotrek whose business have been impacted by the cancellation of school camps, Operations Hands On distributes hand sanitizers and masks to the elderly and vulnerable in the community, and holds presentations on hygiene and public health best practices. How can you help? Volunteer to help with the distribution efforts in the coming weeks, by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
9. Volunteer organization HandsOn Hong Kong has partnered with a number of local charities to support vulnerable groups impacted by the epidemic, including the elderly, low-income families and youth with disabilities. How can you help? For those in HK, check out their website to find the nearest local charity to you, and identify what type of donations they need, including hand sanitizers and wet wipes, tissue and toilet paper, goggles and gloves, cleaning products and antiviral handwash/soap, and food, among others.
10. Bethune House for Migrants Women’s Refuge provides social counselling and emergency relief to migrant workers in Hong Kong. How can you help? Due to shortage in supplies, Bethune House has called for urgent donations of face masks, sanitizers and alcohol – please make your donation at the charity directly, or by calling 2522 8264, 9488 9044 and 9711 1673 for collection.
*This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I have done my best to pick initiatives with a far reach and impact. Based on my location, most of these campaigns focus on Singapore, but if you know of other organizations in need of manpower/financial support elsewhere, please get in touch or leave a comment.
I also encourage everyone to do their own research and due diligence before making a donation, and please reach out to these organizations directly should you require further clarification on their campaigns, volunteer opportunities, and what the donations will be used for.
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Based out of Singapore and Indonesia, Trang is in charge of editorial content and strategy for Causeartist in Asia, looking after the media platform’s coverage of the region. In addition to her role at Causeartist, she divides her time managing a global sustainability project for Refinitiv (formerly Thomson Reuters Financial & Risk), as a freelance contributor to publications focused on social and environmental issues, and as a consultant on international development projects on issues ranging from climate change mitigation to education or women’s rights.