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28 January 2008

A group of enthusiastic student volunteers put aside their holiday plans in exchange for a gift of labour and love to help the beneficiaries of The Salvation Army

Student volunteers from Anderson Junior College brought special meaning to the act of gift-wrapping last Christmas. Proactive and bursting with energy, they initiated gift-wrapping services at CapitaLand Malls in a bid to raise funds for The Salvation Army.

Titled ‘Project Love for a Dollar’, the students’ initiative spanned a total of 10 days, from 15-24 December, at Junction 8, Plaza Singapura and Bugis shopping malls. Shoppers could have their gifts wrapped with a donation of at least a dollar. The response at Plaza Singapura was particularly good and at times even overwhelming. As Project Coordinator Fiona delightedly put it, “We had some really generous customers donating as much as $10 at one go”. Such big-hearted actions certainly affirmed the volunteers for their hard work and dedication toward this charitable cause.

The self-initiated project, conceived in June last year, took sheer grit and determination from the students to see it through. On top of having to handle their usual school workload, the organising committee went through formal, standard procedures with CapitaLand Mall and The Salvation Army before obtaining the green light to carry out their project. These included writing proposals, holding a series of meetings as well as holding training sessions to teach all the volunteers the protocol. The first day, faced with unforeseen demand, put the volunteers in a frenzy. As a result, gift-wrapping booths ran out of wrappers quickly. Unfazed, the students rectified the problem and continued to plough on with an unwavering strength of mind. Slowly but surely, they became familiar with the process. The entire team has never looked back since.

Other than seeing the fruit of their labour in terms of donations coming in, the student volunteers also discovered the intangible joys that came with rendering their service. One would be able to concur with Fiona, that “The interesting thing about gift wrapping (in this manner) is that you actually get to meet interesting people (from all walks of life)”. These youngsters, with a heart for service, also took away valuable lessons and insights from engaging in such a project. One student, Punitha, concluded that doing so was better than asking for donations, as people would be willing to donate more upon seeing the effort put in.

In spite of the difficulties faced during the course of this project, the volunteers within the organising committee have already made a pact with one another, to assist with this gift-wrapping project again next year. Truly, their willingness to serve is both commendable and inspiring to others.

Article originally published in the SA-V (Salvation Army Volunteer) Bulletin
February 2008 © All Rights Reserved