December 31, 2003, Wednesday - The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund has met its target for the fourth year in a row.
It has raised $3.3 million to help an estimated 11,000 children who are expected to seek help to pay for a meal during recess this year (2004). This brings the total amount The Straits Times has raised since the fund started in 2000 to $10.5 million.
The fund’s organising chairman, Mr Peter Khoo, paid tribute to donors young and old: "This year was the most challenging we have faced. Sars hampered fund-raising activities and it also increased the number of applicants.
"Singaporeans are often labelled kiasu and kiasi, only looking after themselves. Well, when it comes to caring for the less fortunate, nothing can be further from the truth.
"Statistics show that from 1998 to 2002, there has been a 50% increase in public donations to charity. This speaks volumes for Singaporeans, despite the uncertain economic times.’’
Mr Khoo assured that every cent collected will go to the beneficiaries, with The Straits Times bearing administrative expenses.
Said Tina Hung, the director of service development at the National Council of Social Service (NCSS): "We are heartened that the community has continued to rally with The Straits Times in support of these children.’’ The NCSS is the fund’s administrator.
The money in the kitty will provide Primary school pupils with $30 a month, and secondary school students $50 a month, to help pay for a decent meal during recess.
Donations by phone ended with the campaign (Dec 31,2003) , but those who still wish to give to the fund can send cheques to NCSS.
Reaching the target will mean that children getting help from the 38 family service centres which help administer the fund can continue doing so.
Said Mrs Florence Lim, the 45-year-old director of Covenant Family Service Centre in Hougang (centre now has 164 children on the fund) : "With sufficient money, there won’t be a situation whereby we’ll have to turn away people applying for the fund. Needy families have been blessed in that sense."
Issued by Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
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