When it comes to “doing good” -- whatever that means to you -- Singaporeans often choose to donate, because many of us are simply too busy.
So we donate money to our pet causes. We donate old clothes to the Salvation Army. Some of us are even guilty of “donating” clothes just to declutter our closets -- whether we do it wittingly or not.
But if you genuinely want to help, there’s a lot more than just money or clothes that you can give. There’s no better time to start than during Giving Week; Just remember that donating is not a guilt-free exercise in getting rid of old things.
Try to think about what the people you want to help actually need.
Here’s a list of these useful things that are definitely in demand.
Electronics & furniture
You may be able to afford new electronics every year, but the three-year-old television sitting unused in your bedroom will still be useful to low-income families and seniors. Ditto the standing fan gathering dust in your storeroom.
Organisations such as Pass It On help connect those with items to donate to those who need it -- you’ll know exactly who, why and where your donations go to.
But don’t be an ar*e -- don’t donate things that are soiled or spoiled. Human dignity is worth something.
Breast milk is a precious resource to both babies and mothers. If you have breast milk in excess, don’t feed it to the drain. Bring it to the only Human Milk Bank in Singapore.
The donated milk is pasteurised before being fed to premature and sick babies at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), National University Hospital (NUH) and Singapore General Hospital (SGH).
The milk bank, which opened in 2017, helped more than 600 vulnerable babies in its first year.
Why let the books on your shelves collect dust (you know you don’t read them anymore) when you can pass them on to enrich a child’s mind? Youth centres accept youth-friendly books that can be read without supervision.
Alternatively, you can hand them to Dignity Mama stall, which is run by young adults with special needs and their mothers.
Yes, sperm. There is more than one sperm bank in Singapore -- but they hardly count as “banks”, because there’s so little sperm in there.
From 2005 to 2010, there were only eight sperm donors at SGH. There were none at KK Hospital in the same period.
Even if you don’t want children, there’s still a way to fend off pesky relatives who accuse you of not helping with the national birth rate.
Why do donations have to be used items, or things we no longer want?
You can show appreciation to the migrant workers who built our roads and homes by donating Christmas gifts.
You can also redirect your Christmas or birthday gifts and get your friends to donate on your behalf instead. You already have a lot of material goods, don’t you? Even if you can think of one item you want, bet you can’t think of five.
And even if you can -- do you necessarily need them?
This is a no-brainer. There’s nothing wrong with donating items, but some liquidity does allow an organisation to acquire and allocate things fairly to recipients -- the same good quality pillows, for example.
Sponsor a pillow with Pillow Project to gift an elderly with good sleep. Everybody loves and needs sleep.
You can also help groom patients at Bright Vision Hospital --but unless you’re a hairdresser or manicurist, sponsoring grooming tools will be your next best option to help them look on point.
Looking good makes anyone feel good.
Giving might not come naturally because humans can be selfish by nature. That possibly explains why many of us immediately think of unwanted items if and when we want to donate.
Not that there’s anything wrong -- one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. But the point of donation is to benefit those who need help, and if you think (hard), you’ll find that there are a lot more (in variety and quantity) that can be going around.
If you are interested to start giving back to society but don’t know where to begin, you can start during Giving Week, organised by National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre.
There are tons of ways to give back -- just find a cause you support and enjoy, and contribute within your own means.
Visit the Giving week website to find a cause that moves your spirit.
This sponsored post by National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre has us wondering what else can be donated.