Collaboration provides funerals for free, with 'no questions asked'
Funeral home Woodlands Memorial and Cheng Hong Welfare Service Society (CHWSS) are rewriting the rules of funerals.
As part of a collaboration announced around two months ago, the two organisations are offering pro bono dignified farewells to ease the financial burdens on families during their time of grief.
The basic package includes a coffin, last rites, cremation and sea burial with no questions asked. And if a family needs a place for a funeral wake, a columbarium, or ashes to be interred, they've got that covered too.
Speaking to TNP, Chairman of CHWSS Kenny Sim, 54, said: “To anybody who comes to us for this package, we tend not to ask any questions.
“At times, there's some ritual that the family wants us to do, like a certain interment of the ashes at the temple or a church. On a case by case basis, we will help accordingly,” he said, adding that the basic package would otherwise cost around $3,000.
Founded in 2004, CHWSS tackles around 20 cases each month.
Sim said the joint effort with Woodlands Memorial, a fairly new business that has been operating for around six months, has come at the right time.
“Due to rising costs, the interment of ashes is now quite expensive. We used to have a partner organisation (for this), but the place has now reached almost max capacity,” he said.
Chairman of Woodlands Memorial Melvin Poh, 51, said they were glad to work alongside CHWSS in helping people.
“Two months back, I started to understand more about Cheng Hong's role and the kind of work they do,” he said.
“We realised that there was a little gap we could help fill – in some of the cases they were handling they didn't have a proper venue to conduct the funeral rites.”
The basic pro bono package, Sim said, is open to anyone, regardless of race or religion. In particular, however, CHWSS aims to assist families in dire straits, or those with sole breadwinners with young children or aging parents.
“Recently, we did one case where the family couldn't afford to pay the cost of the funeral at the void deck. The local Member of Parliament (MP), Ms Poh Li San, reached out to us (and) we were there to provide some financial help,” he said.
“With this awareness, we hope that the public will get to know about this collaboration.”
@tnpdigital A collaboration aimed at helping families who can't afford to pay for a funeral. Find out more at tnp.sg. ❤️ #fyp #sgnews #singapore #woodlands #chenghongwelfareservicesociety ♬ original sound - TNP
Another case involved a deceased who was bedridden for many years after suffering a stroke. Prior to this, the man was his family’s sole breadwinner.
Poh said: “I think the stroke sucked out the financial ability of the family. The wife worked as a cleaner earning quite a meagre income to support the family. She has two fairly young daughters,
“We did the service at Woodlands Memorial… the family wanted to store the remains in a columbarium.”
For funeral services, the public can contact CHWSS at 6100 6991.