For 14 years, as part of the annual Project “Collection in Aid of the Needy” (Project C.A.N.), NUS students have been regularly supporting needy households under the Public Assistance Scheme and Public Rental Scheme. A special project under the NUS Students’ Community Service Club, Project C.A.N. endeavours to promote community service.
“We hope the event helped to raise awareness of the underprivileged in our society among the general public and the NUS students. Most importantly, we hope to advocate the spirit of giving and volunteerism to the donors and volunteers towards the underprivileged,” shared Mr Justin Quak, Project Director of Project C.A.N. XIV and NUS Science graduate.
Over the weekends of June and July, some 500 student volunteers worked hard to gather canned food, dried rations and basic necessities from willing and generous members of the public. They also raised funds to provide the beneficiaries with supermarket shopping vouchers to enable them to purchase their choice of fresh food, like fruits and vegetables. The donated items and shopping vouchers were distributed to around 500 households in several estates in Chinatown on 29 and 30 July.
The simple project gave great meaning to the volunteers. “The Project C.A.N. experience has given me a first-hand glance at the plight of the elderly beneficiaries living in the older estates of Singapore. It was also really heart-warming to see a good number of passers-by going out of their way to contribute after just observing us doing food collections,” said Travis Phey, NUS Engineering Year 1 student and project volunteer.
This year, the project collaborated with the Health Promotion Board (HPB), with the aim of spreading the benefits of healthy living. Mr Quak elaborated, “They advised us on healthy living tips such as recommended exercises for the elderly, which we incorporated into the Project C.A.N. XIV calendars given to our beneficiaries.”
Health ambassadors from HPB also led the elderly beneficiaries in a demonstration of the recommended exercises during the distribution on 29 July.
Project C.A.N. was well-received by their beneficiaries. “I rarely get the chance to interact with people and I am thankful to have the opportunity to spend such a fruitful afternoon with so many young volunteers,” said Madam Wee, one of the beneficiaries of the charity programme.
The organising committee was moved by the cooperation and hard work of the volunteers. “I hope that this project has touched the lives of both the beneficiaries and volunteers, and perhaps inspired our volunteers to embark on doing more for the underprivileged in the community,” declared Fennie Wong, NUS Arts and Social Sciences Year 4 student and Assistant Project Director of Project C.A.N.