Preparing gift baskets to boost family ties amid virus threat, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Preparing gift baskets to boost family ties amid virus threat

This article is more than 12 months old

Baskets to be distributed to lift spirits and show appreciation to unsung heroes like cleaners

On Sunday mornings, the Gunalans usually head out for breakfast and busy themselves with chores - but yesterday, they decided instead to pack gift baskets for the community amid the coronavirus outbreak.

These baskets, which will be given to people who sign up for them, are part of a Families for Life (FFL) Council initiative.

They contain games such as snakes and ladders, five stones and craft activities meant to encourage family bonding.

There are also materials to create red ribbon badges, to be given out to unsung heroes in the community, such as cleaners and canteen operators.

Caelan Gunalan, 11, packed baskets and created badges with notes of thanks for doctors, nurses and cleaners at a Jurong activity plaza yesterday.

"They are helping patients who are sick and don't have regard for their own lives. They are really the unsung heroes," the Primary 5 pupil said, of healthcare staff.

"It is also a good way to show our appreciation towards those who go the extra mile to keep our estate clean."

He plans to pass on his family's basket to a doctor at a clinic near their Jurong home and add some hand sanitisers to it.

The Gunalans and dozens of other volunteers who are part of the FFL Council movement Share-the-Care, gathered near Block 442 Jurong West Avenue 1 to pack the baskets yesterday.

After an hour, they had packed more than 100 baskets, and the council has targeted 1,000 baskets for distribution.

People who would like to get their hands on a basket can register at

They are encouraged to pass the basket on to other people afterwards.

FFL Council chairman Ishak Ismail said: "In such times, we recognise that people are spending time with their family and we want to encourage that.

"But the 'care and share' spirit is about looking at the community as a family too... To see that there are people out there who are helping us clean the environment and working tirelessly."

The items in the baskets come from groups such as FFL, the People's Association, National Library Board and the Dads For Life movement.

Share-the-Care is part of the wider #SGUnited movement, which encourages people to help the community during the coronavirus outbreak.

Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee told reporters at yesterday's event that the outbreak has been "more than just a public health concern", given its impact on work arrangements and the economy.

He said: "The Government and the community are putting in effort to tackle Covid-19...

"At a time like this - and we don't know how long this will last - families pulling together will enable Singaporeans to overcome the strains, especially the psychological strains, of the impact of Covid-19."