A well-wisher slipped a $100 bill under front door over the weekend, together with a short note. Thank you very much. He signed the note and we have emailed him personally with our appreciation.

We take this opportunity also to thank all our other donors, small and big, for their support through 2013. Most donations don’t come as picturesque as this one, so the others have not been featured on this site, but we appreciate your support all the same.

white_10x40slippers_donated_5577aWe do however suggest you use the SgGives portal for donations; it is safer than slipping cash under the door.

Earlier this month too, we received several boxes of brand new sandals and equally new children’s clothes. About a third of the sandals were given out at our Cuff Road Project to workers who are out of work. They are not the usual type of sandals that workers from Bangladesh and India prefer, but as one of them said, in the rainy season, it’s good to have an extra pair of footwear. When their main pair gets too wet and needs to be dried out, there is at least a stand-by alternative.

The other two-thirds of the sandals, together with the children’s clothes, were transferred to our Filipino Family Network (FFN). They have an arrangement to ship the goods to their home country where hundreds of thousands of people have suffered losses from Typhoon Haiyan early November. Many domestic workers in Singapore come from this part of the Philippines; they face extra requests for remittances and useful goods from their distressed families. Over the past few weeks, FFN has been organising what they could.

A big thank you to the donors.


However, in case we give a misleading impression that we accept all and sundry stuff, we also take this opportunity to state with frankness TWC2’s position on donations in kind.

We generally do not accept donations in kind unless we can see an immediate need for the goods. Since we have no storage space, we have to be sure that the goods can be given out (and taken by intended recipients) within a day.

Typhoon Haiyan is an exception (for now), but our main recipients are male workers who are out of a job. Some Singaporeans wonder why we appear to be choosy about donations in kind, so let us explain why we turned down some offers:

We recently declined an offer of books. Our registrants stay in cramped dorms and boarding houses, with no space to store anything of this kind. Moreover, if the books are in a language they don’t understand, it seems pointless. We have also turned down offers of old desktop computers. Notebook computers are welcome (both male and female recipients) since they are portable and the male and female workers are often keen to ship them home. But these must come with working batteries and battery chargers.

We often decline offers of old clothes. Being homeless, our registrants need to be able to pack everything they own into a backpack or a single carry-all. They do not have the luxury of space to have a wardrobe larger than a handful of shirts and maybe two pairs of trousers. There is no point giving them more. That said, once in a while we will accept used clothes, but we need to be sure that they are in good condition and of a type that the men will wear (we’ve had people offering us brand-name cocktail dresses!). Here, in descending order of demand, are the types that will prove useful:

  • collared polo shirts,
  • long-sleeved shirts
  • short-sleeved shirts
  • collarless T-shirts
  • long jeans
  • ‘cargo’ long pants.
  • ‘cargo’ three-quarter-length pants
Slippers being given out at our free meals outlet

Slippers being given out at our free meals outlet

From time to time, we get offers of food ingredients, including coffee powder and uncooked rice. We have to decline them.  The men have no refrigerator or cooking facilities. Exceptions we welcome include ready-to-eat fruits and roasted nuts, as these can be immediately consumed and provide much needed vitamins and minerals. We also decline sweet snacks. There are noticeable cultural differences; what Singaporeans like in sweets is not what men from South Asia like.

What we really welcome are fast-consumable items like soap and toothpaste. The occasional shaver and shaving cream would be welcome too. Needed daily, these are in high demand.

Basically, TWC2 most needs monetary donations; but if you are thinking of donations in kind, please email us first to check. It would be good to include a couple of photos of the proposed items.