One of the most heart-breaking incidents Priscilla witnessed was one young boy frantically running along the corridor on the floor of his rental block, “stealing” many donated dinner boxes that were hung outside the units of household with elderly folks. Priscilla asked him what he was doing. He said in simple English, “I go find food, I am hungry. My family is hungry”. Not knowing the context of why this boy did what he did, Priscilla told him off, and said, “Are you depriving an elderly of one meal? Don’t do it anymore, I’ll buy dinner for you.” She thought to herself, “No child should go hungry” which became the motto for Project Love Lunch, a ground-up initiative, an all-volunteer community project that has been providing dry groceries to 5 rental blocks in Yishun Singapore since 2015.
This incident happened years ago at one of the rental blocks in Marsiling. Priscilla was then working as an early childhood educator at a childcare centre that was situated in a rental block community. The principal of the childcare centre made special concessions for students from rental flats. She ensured that transport was provided free-of-charge to and from school. She also closed the centre at 9pm instead of the usual 7pm so that the centre can provide dinner for the students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Inspired by her principal’s actions, Priscilla went to visit the rental blocks and began a revelation of the poverty experience in Singapore.
Priscilla recalled a pair of brothers in the childcare centre who motivated her to start Project Love Lunch. It is common practice for people to cut off the sides of the bread and throw them away. The elder brother picked up the sides of the bread from the rubbish bin. “It broke my heart. I think it may be fate that brought the brothers into my life. I really dote on them a lot. So I used my own money to buy bread for this pair of brothers to bring home to eat. A girlfriend questioned me that I can only help them so much during weekdays when they are in school. Who looks after them during the weekends?”
Therefore on Saturdays, Priscilla and her group of volunteers started bringing lunch, and a loaf of bread and fruits to children living in rental blocks to tie them over the weekend. From that small initiative, it grew to become a monthly distribution of groceries. Currently, Project Love Lunch serves around 250 units in the rental blocks. Despite an accident which affected her mobility, Priscilla continued with her volunteer work to help others to the best of her ability. She also roped in her two teenage children to teach them the importance of serving the less fortunate.
For her dedication towards supporting children and elderly from under-resourced backgrounds, Priscilla was named the second runner-up in the inaugural Yishunite of the Year in 2020. The second installation of the Yishunite of the Year 2021 is upon us. Organised by Nee Soon Town Council, this award seeks to recognise Nee Soon GRC residents who have contributed to the community and embodies the spirit of service and giving.
If you know of anyone who fits the criteria, nominate him/her by heading to www.nstc.org.sg/yoty21 so that his/her story can inspire more to give back to our community, a Home with a Heart.