Outreach, Welfare

CAC youths step out for the needy

YOUTHS FROM FIVE METHODIST CHURCHES raised funds for the poor and needy in a collaborative effort between Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) and Methodist youths from the Chinese Annual Conference (CAC). The youths came from Grace Methodist Church, Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church, Bukit Panjang Methodist Church, Holy Covenant Methodist Church and Queenstown Chinese Methodist Church, which are all in the CAC’s West District.

They raised nearly $50,000 for MWS through the “STEPS For A Cause” runathon (also known as STEPS) at East Coast Park on Aug 18, 2012.

Since early last year, ideas to organise a fundraiser were mooted in the wake of natural disasters that had been in the news.

Moved by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster last year, a group of youths in Grace Methodist Church wanted to support the relief efforts. However, they did not have enough time to do anything more than collect donations from their peers.

This year, encouraged by STEPS’ spiritual adviser, the Rev Andy Goh, the youths decided to organise the runathon, attracting more than 200 runners, instead of their annual youth bonding event “Westside Story”.

This is the first time the youths stepped out in force, said CAC President Rev Dr Chong Chin Chung, and it really showed their strength. “We should channel their youthful energy and spirit for good.” Rev Dr Chong was present at the runathon as the Guest-of-Honour.

In a short address before the flag-off, he exhorted the young people to take the run a little more figuratively, and to “walk the talk”.

“Let us pray that young people will walk with the needy,” he said, “and not forget the Christian community around us, especially those who require help.” He added: “Let us run for this cause to help the needy.”

Opportunity to bless others
The runathon was just the opportunity that the youths needed to bless others.

Mr Matthew Han, the Youth Coordinator for Grace Methodist Church and Chairman of the Organising Committee, praised the youths for being passionate and responsible. He said: “They really want to be able to give and bless others. Sometimes they just need someone to help guide and direct them.”

He added that in addition to supporting the beneficiaries at MWS, the other motivation behind the fundraiser was to inspire the current generation of youths to embrace the Methodist tradition of social outreach.

To do that, the committee organised trips for runathon participants to visit MWS centres. During the visit to Bethany Methodist Nursing Home, the youths played simple games with the residents, sang Hokkien and Chinese songs, and made photo frames with them.

Contributing to charity through running struck a chord with the runathon participants.

Ms Euphemia Tan Pei Li, who worships at Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church, said she is supportive of the event because she knows the beneficiaries of her efforts. She volunteers at MWS’ Daybreak Student Care Centre and would readily join the runathon again.

Another participant, Mr Tony Chang, who worships at Queenstown Chinese Methodist Church, said it was a “win-win” event for him. He enjoys running and, through it, he can help the needy. While the runathon is the first engagement MWS has had with an all-youth group, it will not be the last. MWS Group Executive Director Jenny Bong said she hopes this runathon will inspire other young people to step forward and partner MWS to give to those in need.

If you are interested in an initiative to raise funds for MWS, please contact Mr Jeremy Foo at JeremyFoo@mws.org.sg or tel: 6478-4713.

Chuang Bing Han is the Web Editor of Methodist Welfare Services.