Over 37,000 hampers raised for low-income families and migrant workers
When Mr Brendan Ong became one of Project R.I.C.E+'s project directors this year, the committee had wanted to exceed last year's goal of 25,616 hampers.
The 23-year-old student from Singapore Management University knew they had to be realistic about the numbers and never expected to raise a total of 37,185 hampers.
An initiative by the Red Cross Youth Chapter, Project R.I.C.E+ started in 2005 as a rice collection campaign that gathers and redistributes rice to beneficiaries.
The hampers now consist of food items and basic necessities.
While some of these hampers went to low-income families, skipped generation families and single parent households on July 20, a portion will also be distributed to migrant workers on Aug 24.
About 4,380 hampers will be given out at various Centre for Domestic Employees branches, Westlite Mandai dormitory and HCJ Construction.
Mr Ong first joined Project R.I.C.E+ in 2017 as a deputy district head after being roped in by his twin sister.
Some challenges his team faced included deciding on the kind of food items and toiletries to be included in the hampers.
Mr Ong said that due to the diverse demographic of their beneficiaries, careful considerations had to be made.
"Some may need more toiletries, while others might not even need food items,"he added.
Last year, people focused more on buying food item hampers than daily necessities.
Mr Ong said: "I think when people hear the name Project R.I.C.E+, they think the beneficiaries need only food."
It reflected the perception the public has of the less fortunate, that they need only edibles, when toiletries are equally important, he added.
This year, the committee decided to simply let the public sponsor a hamper before converting it to a specific type, according to the beneficiaries' needs.
While the committee was surprised by the number of hampers they raised, the bigger satisfaction comes from seeing their hard work paying off on distribution day.
Mr Ong said: "It is great to see that there is a community in Singapore that is willing to help the less fortunate.
"It also shows you the little things you don't think about. For us, we can buy a tin of Milo on a normal day. But for some of these families, it can be a treat."