Marilyn, the project coordinator on the left, with volunteers, wrapping hampers for needy families. Photo by Grace Huang

SINGAPORE – Dozens of volunteers flooded the Catholic Archdiocesan Education Centre on a rainy Thursday morning on Nov 5.

Undeterred by adverse weather conditions, they went to help the Roman Catholic Prison Ministry (RCPM) pack household necessities into hampers to be sent to needy families as ‘glad tidings’ during this Christmas season of love.

The process involved several steps: Goodies were distributed, wrappers cut and decorated with handmade bows, used cardboard boxes were flattened and sent for recycling, and finished hampers were set aside for delivery.

Packing was done over four days. Throughout, volunteers availed themselves to any task. Some required training, such as in the art of making pretty bows with ribbons. But all were open to learning skills and sharing their resources, thus capitalising on one another’s talents.

For instance, one volunteer commented that she had always enjoyed wrapping, so much so that it had become a therapeutic hobby for her. Upon hearing that, another volunteer asked her how to make one of the bows she had beautifully crafted for the hampers.

Amid the bustle of churning out hampers, new friendships were forged and contacts exchanged.
Volunteers received more than they anticipated, as many unexpectedly learnt new skills such as decorating gifts.
Many of them came from the Catholic High School parents’ support group. They generously lent their support to this cause and to their fellow member, Marilyn Chan, who is the project manager. Ms Chan has many years of experience in fundraising, but for RCPM, this is her second time, having started with the group last year.

Patricia Bernard, an RCPM volunteer of five years, remarked: “I love making bows with ribbons. It’s really an art that I can use anytime to make someone’s day.”

When asked what kept her coming back, Ms Bernard, who is in her early 60s, smiled and said: “I was simply obedient [to God] and help out with what I can.” With that, she immediately returned to sticking bows onto hampers.

By Grace Huang

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