‘Important for residents to know there are people who still care’

James Issachar (right) handing out bread to residents at a welfare home.

FOR over a decade, Patricia Eng has been taking time out of her busy schedule to visit welfare homes and spend time with residents there.

In the past week alone, the 53-year-old corporate consultant, who also runs her own cafe, has visited at least three orphanages with her friends.

“Usually during festive seasons, some of my friends will come along for these visits.

“We will bring some goodies and spend time with the children at the homes.

“I visit orphanages or homes for children with cancer not only during festive seasons but all-year round,” she said.

Eng said she had come across many cases where children had been abandoned by their family members.

“It is heartbreaking, but who are we to judge as we do not know what the families are going through.

“Some may have wanted to visit but are unable to do so due to financial constraints, and there are also those who gave birth to their children when they were just teenagers themselves.

“We are not in their shoes and should never pass judgement on them. What we can do is visit and bring cheer to the children,” said Eng.

As much as she encouraged others to visit these homes, she reminded visitors to refrain from posting on social media the photos of the children they were visiting.

“We should only focus on doing our part for the children, instead of showing on social media that we have done something good.

“The children and other residents in the homes deserve to have their privacy,” she added.

Yayasan Kebajikan Suria Johor Baru founder James Ho said his non-governmental organisation (NGO) had been busy visiting charity homes over the past few weeks in conjunction with Chinese New Year.

“Apart from helping those in need, we also visit charity homes to pass along donations and goodies from our donors.

“It may not be much but at the very least, we get to bring smiles to the faces of the residents who rarely get visitors,” he said.

Like Eng, he encouraged his volunteers and the people he knew to pay charity homes a visit.

“Festive seasons are especially important times for such visits, as many living in these homes might not get to see their family members.

“It is important for them to know that there are still people who care about them,” he said.

Similarly, Shechinah Association Johor Baru’s James Issachar said his NGO visited several charity homes under its “Bills of Hope and Love” initiative.

“The initiative started during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Initially, it focused on giving food to the homeless and the poor on the streets.

“We stopped for a while when the Covid-19 situation improved and only recently revived the initiative, with the focus now on charity homes.

“We bring food and other goodies from volunteers as well as donors to the homes and also spend some time with the residents,” said Issachar.

He added that apart from reducing the burden of the charity homes, the initiative was aimed at bringing cheer to the residents, particularly those who had not seen their families in years.

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