Seasoned shoppers at CapitaLand malls – namely at Bukit Panjang Plaza, Junction 8, Lot One and Tampines shopping malls, would have noticed something familiar brewing in the air of festivity during the 2 weeks leading up to Christmas in 2008. “Project: Love for a Dollar”, a fundraising initiative for The Salvation Army (TSA) by student volunteers from Anderson Junior College, was back for Christmas again! Making its debut in December 2007, volunteers would offer gift-wrapping services to shoppers, in return for donations in aid of The Salvation Army and its beneficiaries.
Beginning with just a hand full of volunteers and only 7 facilitators, the task of coping with the potential gift-wrapping demands at the malls appeared to be a daunting one. However, it was clear that everyone was not prepared to give up without a fierce fight. A briefing cum training session marked the start of the volunteers’ journey through the project. Although it was just the preliminary stage before the actual run of the fundraising, everyone was already geared up and raring to pick up gift-wrapping skills from the student facilitators, as well as learn the protocol for serving patrons.
As the initiative is student-based, spotting a grown-up amid all the youth was certainly unexpected. Doris, who engages in gift-wrapping as a hobby, got wind of this project via the volunteer recruitment advertisement. She had shared that she had signed up to help in the project with the hope of contributing to The Salvation Army (TSA) and her beneficiaries, especially during times of the gloomy economy as such.
A short chat with the overall project coordinator, Nicole, allowed me to unearth more about the initiative, which was in its second year running since its inception in 2007. According to her, it was first initiated as a Service Learning project by the then Year 2s student volunteers in Anderson Junior College (AJC). To Nicole, it was simply “continuing the legacy” left behind by her senior batch as they worked to make a difference through the project. Indeed, one should not belittle this seemingly simple act of gift-wrapping. As Nicole put it, this fundraising would help raise awareness of the services and beneficiaries of The Salvation Army, especially shoppers who “may not have heard of TSA before”.
Notwithstanding the student leaders’ task of coordinating such a large scale project and volunteers for the first time, this apparent inadequacy was made up for in leaps and bounds by big hearts and big sacrifices on their part. As such, everyone contributed greatly in pulling off this large-scale initiative. Many would agree that it was well-coordinated and a success in many rights. Through everyone’s passion and hard work, the fundraising raised a tremendous total of close to $11,000 within a short period of 10 days, thus setting even greater heights for the Project Team of 2009 to scale in future!
Article originally published in the SA-V (Salvation Army Volunteer) Bulletin April 2009 © All Rights Reserved