COVID-19: How you can donate to charities, volunteer to support vulnerable communities and help local businesses in Singapore

With the devastating impact of COVID-19, there’s no better time to extend a helping hand than now

One thing is clear in this time of uncertainty: our communities need help. The COVID-19 coronavirus crisis has already upended the lives of millions around the world. No one is truly insulated from the devastating forces of the pandemic, which has caused more than a million confirmed infections, nearly 70,000 deaths and billions in economic damage. Fatalities aside, strict social distancing and self-quarantine measures also mean lost wages not just for F&B workers, but event personnels, artists, and your everyday unsung heroes. If you’re lucky enough to be going on with life with some semblance of normalcy, and are in a position to help, there are ways you can do so.

local communities
Lend a helping hand to communities in need

Local communities

Launched in February, one-stop portal SG United brings together community-led COVID-19 efforts. You’ll find various opportunities to donate, volunteer, and support vulnerable communities across the country. Those looking to donate can send money to organisations like The Courage Fund, Sayang Sayang Fund, and If you are able to volunteer your time and effort, the Volunteer tab lists programmes you can be involved in.

Meals can also be purchased on behalf of the less fortunate. Second Meal allows beneficiaries to claim their meals from 11 participating hawker stalls around Singapore. The platform scores high on transparency: donors are given a uniquely generated URL where they can track the date and time their meals are claimed.

With home-based learning, disadvantaged families have been scrambling to find laptops for their children. Engineering Good, a local charity, is collecting used laptops to refurbish them, before distributing them to those in need. You can also donate accessories, volunteer to coordinate donations, or help refurbish the laptops with required licenses and software.

Shopee’s Lend a Hand if You Can initiative also allows customers to purchase essential items for the needy directly through its site. Find out more on Tripadvisor’s #LoveYourLocal microsite.

Homeless and displaced migrant workers

Lockdowns have left migrant workers stranded in Singapore with no income and / or no shelter. Help the people who are literally building the future of Singapore with their bare hands by donating to the Migrant Workers’ Assistance Fund via the Migrant Workers’ Centre page on Giving SG, or open your spaces by collaborating with organisations like Homeless Hearts and More avenues for help are also listed on Better SG’s Help Malaysians in Singapore page.

Frontliners in Singapore

Welfare and charity organisations, along with medical institutions, always need more face masks, hand sanitisers and hand wash, so if you have them in excess, drop them off at the locations listed by Contribute. Its team will send these essentials to those in the frontline, including taxi and private hire drivers, and other communities with homebound patients and lower-income families. The Courage Fund by the Community Chest is another outlet where you can help ease the burden of struggling families, frontline workers and vulnerable individuals.

blood donation
Head down to one of the four blood banks to donate blood: Outram, Woodlands, Jurong and Dhoby Ghaut

Blood donation

At the time of writing, Singapore Red Cross indicated critically low supply for blood type O- and low for A- on its website. If you know of eligible donors, send them to the blood banks. If you’re able to, make an appointment to head over whenever possible. The risk of contracting the virus at the blood banks is low, says HSA, and there are screening precautions in place.

Our local businesses are the building blocks of our community. Let’s do what we can to ensure they remain in business

Local F&B businesses #savefnbsg

Small, independent enterprises are now hanging on a thread, and your continual support is essential to ensure their survival. Local fine-dining restaurants are now offering takeaways and deliveries, and so are our top bars in the city.

More importantly, those without websites or their own social media presence – mostly hawkers – are posting their offerings on Facebook. You can also consider buying gift cards on Chope and Save to use when the circuit-breaker period is over.

Local consumer marketplace Carousell has teamed up with Unilever Food Solutions to provide a space for hawkers to provide information on their takeaway services, without paying a premium to be featured. Users can browse the ‘Local F&B’ category for more.

Tripadvisor also launched its #LoveYourLocalSG campaign, offering gift cards, and partnering Burpple, Chope, Shopback GO and Shopee to help restaurants reach a wider audience. Apart from promoting local hawkers and restaurants, it is also supporting Eat for Good’s pay-it-forward programme where you can purchase a meal for the needy. Tiger Beer is also aiming to raise $1.3 million to support its partners. Consumers are encouraged to make a donation of $10 – all of which will go to all participating outlets – and will receive a digital drink voucher, which can be redeemed once businesses reopen.

Support other local businesses, along with arts and culture communities

Venue closures and events cancellation spell revenue loss for small businesses, forcing owners to look for new ways to raise money. Indie cinema The Projector, which has now gone dark till the end of April, is offering merchandise, memberships, vouchers, seat adoptions, pre-paid venue hire slots, and even furniture for sale. Tea lovers, show some love to writer and brew master Kenny Leong by purchasing his gourmet tea packages.

Beyond the retail, service and entertainment industries, you can share your expertise to startups and SMEs seeking meaningful partnerships during the virus crisis. Visit Company of Good for a list of collaborative opportunities that help companies scale initiatives on a corporate level.

In the hopes of helping freelancers in the music scene, a group of locals in the music scene are organising Take Back The Nights, a series of 12 online concerts to raise funds. Local musicians Jack & Rai and Tabitha Nauser are also among the lineup of performers.

Adopt, don’t shop! And if you can’t commit, fostering’s equally helpful

Animal shelters

Pet adoption drives have been cancelled, which means the shelters are full. Financial donations have taken a huge dive and funds are running out. In case you’re unaware, there is no evidence that animals can transmit the coronavirus to humans. If you’re not ready for a long-term commitment (read: adoption), you can help foster an animal or send some money to non-profits  like Action for Singapore Dogs, Cat Welfare Society, Causes for Animals Singapore, Save Our Street Dogs, Animal Lovers League, and Voices for Animals.

Editor’s note: If you know of a local community fundraiser, volunteer recruitment drive or business that needs help, email [email protected] with subject title: ‘RRSG: Listing Needed’ so we can update this list.

Staying home during this period of time isn’t easy, we get it! But we’ll be keeping you company. Subscribe to our digital magazines for free, and check out what ideas we have for you. #StayHomeWithRobb #LoveYourLocal