Features, Highlights

Downcast by the downturn, dads? Do not despair! MWS can help


FATHERS who have lost their jobs or are facing difficulties in the current recession can get help from the Methodist Welfare Services (MWS).

The MWS has Family Service Centres in five districts which can help those in need to obtain financial aid and direct them to relevant agencies for other assistance such as upgrading their skills and finding a job.

Help can also come in the form of grocery vouchers, school pocket money and other monetary support.

Fathers are appreciated even more these days. To them, we say thank you for your love for your family, your hard work, patience and endurance, even your quirks that make you the loveable men that you are. Your family loves and values you.

We understand that you may not feel like celebrating in these gloomy times because you may be out of work, threatened with the prospect of retrenchment or your business could be facing challenges to survive.

But with help at hand, support from family and friends, and hope and trust in God, you could still join fathers everywhere to celebrate Father’s Day on June 21 with a
family lunch or dinner or an outing.

We also understand that being employed is important to you. As head of the family you want to be the main person to put food on the table and enable the children to go to school.

Although you may not feel like speaking to someone about your problems, do not let fear and embarrassment stand in the way of getting help – this recession has hit many people from all walks of life.

Should you be in this position, we invite you to get in touch with any of the MWS Family Service Centres which provides a variety of services and programmes to help you and your family, especially during these difficult times.

Help for families
Our Family Service Centres, located in Jalan Besar (Kampong Kapor FSC, tel: 6299-7662), Hougang (Covenant FSC, tel: 6282-8558), Sembawang (Sembawang FSC, tel: 6754-7050), Tampines (Tampines FSC, tel: 6787- 2001), and Yishun (Daybreak FSC, tel: 6756-4995), can assist you to:

• RECEIVE grocery vouchers from partner churches or free milk formula for your infant child from a polyclinic;

• OBTAIN school pocket money for your children in primary and secondary school;

• APPLY for an MWS Bursary for your children from primary to JC/ polytechnic level;

• GET ACCESS to a Community Development Council in your area for career counselling, job match and skills upgrading and short-term financial and material assistance;

• GET HELP from relevant agencies and VWOs for befriender services and financial support;

• MANAGE marital or parent-child concerns arising from your job loss or work-related stress;

• COPE with your financial difficulties by attending budgeting and money management sessions.

Additionally, if your children are in MWS-run childcare and Student Care Centres, MWS staff can help you to apply for extra subsidy so you only pay a nominal sum.

Calling all wives and children
Are you ready to make Father’s Day a happy one for your husband/dad? Wives and children, being fathers’ closest kin, are the best means of support in trying times. You can help fathers to walk through this period of difficulty by:

• Showing a lot of patience, especially if the man of the house is going for numerous interviews without results.

• Being non-judgmental – Try not to make discouraging remarks. Listen to his complaints and offer encouragement.

• Having a positive mindset – Recognise that dad is doing his very best to find work. Show empathy and respect, recognise his strengths and past contributions to his workplace and to the family.

Families are the best source of support and comfort, especially during trying times; so let us stand by our dad and show him how much we love him.

Mel Lee is the Assistant Manager (Communications) of the Methodist Welfare Services.


How our churches can also help

STATISTICS show that in this recession, people in their late 30s to 40s (even professionals, managers, engineers and technicians or PMETs) are the hardest hit. Once they lose their jobs, they face a long period of unemployment.

In addition to the support offered by the MWS, Methodist churches can come together and provide organised help to support families whose breadwinners have lost their jobs recently or have been jobless for some time. One way is by mobilising cell groups to “adopt” a family or two and give them practical support, such as:

• FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE to sustain the family while the father looks for a job. If the period of unemployment is prolonged, bills may pile up, electricity and water supply may be reduced or cut off, meals may become irregular.

• FRESH FOOD – the rations received from VWOs and government
agencies consist of canned goods and packet instant food. A family will be greatly helped with an occasional supply of fresh vegetables, meat and fruit.

• INVITATION by community members/friends to the father for snacks or dinner, keeping in touch regularly and listening to his wishes and dreams and acknowledging his struggles and frustrations.

• OFFERING other ways of finding a job, such as connecting him with friends or acquaintances who may know of a job vacancy or other forms of help the family may need.

HOPE Recession Fairs, which are organised by Trinity Annual Conference, are avenues where you may be able to find a job and other resources while job-hunting.

The next Hope Fair is scheduled for Aug 1, to be held at Pentecost Methodist Church