Outreach, Welfare

35 years on: Still much more to do

More than 600 donors, volunteers, social service partners, Methodist church leaders and Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) staff attended MWS’ 35th Anniversary Thanksgiving Dinner at Shangri-La Hotel on 30 June 2016. Sponsored by Mr and Mrs Jackson Tay of JT Global Pte Ltd, the dinner was graced by Minister for Social and Family Development, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin.

In his address, Mr Tan said charities play a crucial role in helping those who are in need.

“The government cannot do it alone. But the VWOs, such as MWS, play a very important role,” he said. “We very much appreciate MWS’ constant initiatives in reaching out to the community and responding to the needs.”

One such initiative is the MWS Family Development Programme that was launched at the dinner.

The FDP will empower low-income families through holistic intervention, by helping them to meet immediate needs as well as to build up their savings to cushion against crises and plan for the future. The FDP is one of the many initiatives MWS has launched over the years, in its efforts to constantly reach out to people in need who fall through the cracks.

In 1990, MWS was one of the first few social service agencies to reach out to palliative patients with home care. Tampines Family Service Centre is also one of the first Family Service Centres in Singapore.

In more recent years, MWS launched Residence @ St. George’s, a girls’ hostel that offers a more compassionate alternative sentencing option, the first of its kind. Charis ACE is an unconventional senior activity centre that reaches out to under-served seniors living in non-rental flats who face risks of social isolation.

Last year, the Getting-Out-Of-Debt Programme helped more than 600 low-income families clear $1.6 million of chronic debt.

Not resting on its laurels, MWS has, in the past few years, taken major steps to expand its expertise and spectrum of services for seniors in response to the escalating ageing population.

By the end of this year, MWS will have three more senior activity centres catering to those who are more mobile but at risk of social isolation as they largely live alone. By June 2017, MWS will manage a new nursing home in Choa Chu Kang. This will nearly double its services to seniors from the existing five centres to nine.

Bishop Dr Wee Boon Hup, Patron of MWS, aptly summarised its forward-looking drive in his dinner address: “We are still on the journey. There is still much more that we can do. We pray that with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, many more churches, individuals, and other partners will keep moving forward with us.”

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Hello Sir… a true 35-year story from the floor

The nine-year-old handed in badly-done homework and was summoned and caned by the Vice-Principal. Thirty-eight years on, this boy met his VP again at the MWS 35th Anniversary Thanksgiving Dinner. It was a happy reunion between Minister for Social and Family Development Mr Tan Chuan-Jin and Mr Peter Joe Chia, one of the founders of MWS.

Recalled Minister Tan on his Facebook page, “Was at the Methodist Welfare Services 35th Anniversary (thank you for your great service to our community) when I met Mr Peter Joe Chia … Vice-Principal when I was in primary school. Feared and respected. For good reason! I had the privilege to be caned by Sir when I was Pri 3 ouch! If I recall, I think I anyhowly do my homework hence kena whacked! Daring and caring enough to discipline is Important. Good to catch up with you Sir and here’s wishing you good health and happiness! Sir was also the one who initiated the idea that led to the formation of MWS. Thumbs up and hormat!”

Thank you Mr Peter Joe Chia and the other founders of MWS for your works of faith. “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” (Matthew 25:35, ESV)

MWS pro-tem committee (1980-1982):

Mr Richard T. Tambyah

Mr Sim Boon Peng

Mr Peter Joe Chia

Mr Lee Gek Seng

Dr Gilbert Chiang

Mr Khoo Hock Nam

The Rev Francis Ngoi

Miss Susan Verghese

Mr Richard Yeo

Photo from Minister Tan’s Facebook page

By the Methodist Welfare Services Communications Team