Outreach, Welfare

MWS at 40 – A long-time volunteer with MWS talks about the privilege of empowering a whole community to outreach to those in need.

MWS at 40
Seniors at the Methodist Home for the Aged Sick

This year, Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) celebrates 40 years of empowering life to the full. This is one of a series of stories from people empowered to help others through MWS over the years. Get involved and join MWS in empowering lives. Learn more by visiting https://mws.sg/mws40th/

“The idea of beginning something like MWS in faith, and seeing it grow to what it is today has been wonderful, and my own faith has been strengthened as a result.”—Veronica Poore, long-time MWS volunteer

81-year-old Veronica Poore vividly remembers what the early days were like. She was serving in the Social Concerns Ministry of her church, Tamil Methodist Church (Short Street), back in the 1980s, and was also the representative for the Women’s Society of Christian Service (WSCS) of the Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference (ETAC) and General Conference-WSCS. Through her work, she saw that there was a deep need and urgency for the three Annual Conferences to work together more closely to meet the needs of those financially less fortunate. When the opportunity arose for her to serve on the founding team of the Methodist Home for the Aged Sick, she stepped up. The Home was the first centre set up by the Methodist Welfare Services (MWS).

“It was a brand-new idea then to run a home for the elderly, sick and disabled, and the destitute. Back then, the Committee had to handle everything—from processing applications, recruiting staff to fundraising. It was not easy! I remember we started with only a $5,000 budget and we depended a lot on government funding, church and donations,” recalled Veronica.

One of the key challenges she faced then was persuading ETAC churches to support a nursing home. “It was not in the culture of Indian families to send their elderly or the sick and disabled to welfare or nursing homes,” shared Veronica. Yet, there were many Tamil-speaking destitute who did not get much attention from other volunteers because of the language and culture barrier. Over time, through the ETAC local churches’ outreach, more and more women from ETAC churches began to volunteer. “Slowly, you could see them visiting and befriending nursing home residents, especially at MWS Bethany Nursing Home – Choa Chu Kang. I believe those early efforts have helped to expand the Tamil churches’ ministry in the community, which is a vibrant one today,” Veronica said.

Although the Tamil church community in Singapore is small, ETAC made some major contributions to MWS. “Mr Richard Tambyah was an inspiring leader. We also benefitted greatly from Miss Susan Verghese’s professional nursing experience as matron of the General Hospital,” she recalled.

On reflection, Veronica felt that she had personally also gained much from her time with MWS. “The idea of beginning something like MWS in faith, and seeing it grow to what it is today has been wonderful, and my own faith has been strengthened as a result. Serving with MWS has helped me better understand the needs of the elderly and sick. More than welfare, MWS plays the role of being a ‘third place’—for church members who need help but want privacy from their own church, or for those who need help beyond what the church can do. It is very gracious of MWS to provide aid to all regardless of their religion or race, and to continue supporting and empowering even more of the Indian community,” Veronica shared.

By the Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) Communications team / Photo and graphics courtesy of MWS