7 Ways to make this Christmas about impactful giving
Salt&Light supports the 2021 Giving Week from Dec 1 to 7.
Tricia Tan // December 10, 2021, 6:14 pm
Beneficiaries of World Vision's Christmas Outreach. “Sponsorship has really brought so much light to us that we’re able to see where we’re going,” Esnart, grandmother of Chansa (in blue). You can choose to bring light into the lives of children around the world this Christmas by sponsoring a child with World Vision, among many other causes. Photo taken from World Vision's Facebook page.
For many of us, the Christmas season might mean a happy time of festivities with loved ones.
Yet Christmas is not a joyful season for all. It can be a lonely time for the migrant community, isolated from their families back home. The homeless do not have safe spaces to rest. Christians facing persecution in their country are in fear and hiding. Worldwide, Covid-19 rages on, with some families sick, separated or isolated.
As we quieten our hearts and hark back to the very first Christmas, we remember that Mary and Joseph were isolated from their families as they travelled to Bethlehem for the census decreed by Caesar Augustus (Luke 2:4-5), homeless at the time of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:7) and forced to flee from Herod’s persecution (Matthew 2:13).
This Giving Week (December 1 to 7), here are some ways we can show care and spread goodwill to those who are spending Christmas in loneliness, poverty and fear in Singapore and around the world.
1. Help families who are especially vulnerable during Covid: World Vision
Nine ducks for a young family in India. Clean water for 253 families in a village in Indonesia. Food for 800 malnourished kids in Philippine slums.
Far from your typical Christmas wish list, World Vision’s Window to My World Gift Catalogue offers practical, meaningful ways to bless families this Christmas.
Covid-19 has not spared any of us, but it has hit developing regions the hardest. Hand-washing is a mainstay of Covid-19 prevention, but 4.2 billion people around the globe lack access to basic hand-washing facilities. We might gripe about the tedium of Zoom school, but estimates suggest 1 billion children in developing regions might be out of school due to the pandemic.
In addition World Vision’s Child Sponsorship Programme allows for a vulnerable child to have a first day at school, a first school bag and a first visit to the doctor.
2. Provide for child survivors of abuse and neglect: RADION International
Since 2007, Radion International has provided safety and shelter for child survivors of abuse, violence and neglect by providing them with a home, counselling and rehabilitation care. Covid-19 has seen an increase in intake of children at their shelters.
Serving vulnerable and underserved communities globally, with long-term projects across three cities in Southeast Asia, Radion is looking to expand their shelter in Chiang Mai, and are looking to raise $85,000 in December.
3. Let persecuted Christians know they are not alone: Open Doors
Christian Advocacy group Open Doors is a non-denominational mission supporting persecuted Christians in the world. More than 340 million Christians, up from 260 million last year, face persecution and discrimination for their Christian faith, according to the Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List.
This Christmas, Open Hearts is looking to support persecuted Christian children through food parcels, Christmas gifts and discipleship resources.
Their site shares the story of Rafif, whose father was killed by Islamic extremists in Iraq who planted a bomb on a bus packed with Christian students.
“I miss my dad, because he is not there at Christmas. He can’t celebrate it with me.”
She’s found hope at Christian education classes run by Open Doors partners.
To help children like Rafif, or show support to thousands of persecuted Christians fearing for their lives, click here.
4. Provide livelihoods to slum dwellers: Care Channels International
Founded in 2000, Care Channels International serves nine different regions around Asia to improve the education, health and livelihood of the vulnerable.
Among its services, the organisation provides training for men, women and children living in slums in Asia to make cards and picture frames, providing them with opportunities to make a living or supplement their income. Education sponsorships are also offered to enable children to attend school.
To support and encourage these children and families, you can buy their handicraft here. Funds go directly to Care Channels’ beneficiaries.
5. Help secure a home for families of single mothers: HCSA Community Services
Started in 1996 as a halfway house for recovering drug addicts and ex-offenders, HCSA Community Services has extended its services to include support for teenaged girls who have undergone the trauma of repeated abuse, as well as single parents with limited help.
Yeni, a single mother of four, works full time as a cleaner.
“I was struggling to make ends meet. It was difficult to spend time with my children while working hard to earn an income,” she told Salt&Light.
Following an introduction to HCSA SPIN, she was able to spend time with her children through multiple workshops and even secure a rental flat for her family.
6. Befriend those without a roof over their heads: Homeless Hearts of Singapore
A 2019 study by National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy estimates that there are 921 to 1,050 homeless individuals in Singapore. How can we be salt and light to our homeless friends?
“We’re not so much focused on doing events or activities as we are on simple relationship building and growing,” said Abraham Yeo of Homeless Hearts of Singapore (HHOS).
Homeless Hearts of Singapore is team of volunteers who are part of the Ministry of Social and Family Development’s Partners Engaging and Empowering Rough Sleepers (PEERS) network. They hope to spur other fellow Singaporeans to start their own outreach groups to the homeless.
HHOS’ “modus operandi” of booking hotels or hostels as emergency places for homeless families can become expensive due to holiday surcharges.
This Christmas, Abraham urges families and churches to also prepare a place at our holiday tables for those with no tables or even a roof over their heads.
“Jesus’ own parents faced the same situation – they couldn’t stay in the inn because there was no space for them, even though Mary was pregnant,” he reminded.
By donating to Homeless Hearts, you can help them better serve the homeless. Your donations fund anything from EZ link top ups to laundromat coins and even emergency hostel stays.
7. Support low cost medical care for migrant workers: Healthserve
Founded in 2006, HealthServe seeks to bring low-cost medical services and social support to vulnerable low-wage migrant workers in Singapore.
This Christmas, the team is partnering with the young talents of Gateway Arts to craft Christmas cards for fundraising towards medical services for migrant workers.
Each donation goes towards keeping medical treatment fees (including consultation and medication) low or free for our migrant community.
To be a HealthServe volunteer, find out more here.
In 2 Corinthians 9:11, Paul exhorts that we “will be enriched in every way you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God”.
In doing so, we “lay up treasures for [ourselves] as a firm foundation in the coming age, so that [we] may take hold of the life that is truly life.” (1 Timothy 6:19)
As we marvel at the miracle of Christ’s birth this December, we can love others as Christ loved us, truly seeing the less fortunate in our midst.
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