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Living Assistance

Tzu Chi provides direct, timely and practical assistance to give the kind of help needed by each individual and household. Besides providing financial support to help cover some living expenses, Tzu Chi also provides essential daily items such as formula milk, diaper and food in an ongoing manner. Our volunteers also help to declutter and furnish the homes of some care recipients who are unable to clean up their homes by themselves and deliver meals to care recipients who have difficulty cooking or leaving their homes to buy food.

Since 1991, living aid distribution has been ongoing until this day and is a much-anticipated activity for many of our beneficiaries and volunteers. During major living aid distribution events, hot meals are served to participants to warm their bodies and hearts.

Starting in 2017, the Foundation began holding the aid distribution event three times a year during the festive celebrations of Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Puasa, and Deepavali. Care recipients belonging to each racial group are invited to Jing Si Hall to join in the respective festive celebrations. On each occasion, the volunteers spare no effort in decorating the venue, meticulously arranging the food, and preparing engaging programmes just to ensure that the guests feel the comforting warmth of a home away from home.

The types of living assistance provided by Tzu Chi are as follows:

Household Living Expenses

Furnish & Retrofit Support

Home Decluttering

Meals Delivery

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Stories of Love and Compassion

Home Cleaning Before HDB Home Upgrading Starts

Home decluttering service is not a fixed service provided by Tzu Chi. However, it is still rendered when it is necessary. In 2019, the home of an elderly Tzu Chi care recipient, Grandma Lee, was scheduled to undergo an upgrade under the HDB Upgrading Programme. However, cleaning and tidying work before and after the home upgrading programme was a major hassle for the elderly.

In 2014, Grandma Lee had a fall, rupturing her pelvic bones in the process. After having surgery, she experienced serious degeneration in her knees, which limited her mobility. Her husband has also been unable to exert power and lift heavy objects because he has been a stroke patient for many years. On the day of Deepavali, a group of seven volunteers gathered at Grandma Lee’s home in Hougang in the afternoon, to carry out the tidying-up and cleaning work to get her house ready for the upgrading work.

The Three Xu Siblings

Xu Fu De, an elderly renal patient, began receiving care visits from Tzu Chi volunteers in 2007 due to his ongoing need for dialysis. With the help of volunteers, he managed to receive a higher level of government assistance subsequently. His dialysis treatments were fully covered by the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) while Tzu Chi paid for the transportation costs of his appointments. He shared an apartment with two divorced siblings. The family's pillar of support was Xu Fu Chen, his older brother, who was close to 80 years old. He would buy breakfast for his younger siblings and accompany them for their medical appointments.

After Xu Fu Chen passed away in 2013, Tzu Chi volunteers started playing the role of the oldest sibling in the family, taking turns to deliver three daily meals to their home, and seeing to the daily needs of the two other elderly siblings. Later, the Foundation partnered with other social service organisations to provide the necessary care for them. In June 2014, Xu Fu De passed on due to a lung infection, and volunteers helped to make arrangements for his funeral. Concerned about the younger sister (remaining sibling) Xu Wen Di’s daily living needs, volunteers living nearby visited her frequently to give her care and support, until they found a suitable nursing home that admitted her.

A Care Recipient who Volunteers took Eight Years to Meet for the First Time

2011 was a year of heavy responsibilities weighing down on Mr Wong. His business investment had failed while his wife, who worked as a government grassroots worker, suffered severe depression and eventually had to quit her job. Mrs Wong shut herself off from the world and refused to socialise for eight years, even when home visit volunteers came to help. However, the volunteers persisted and communicated with Mrs Wong via email, providing her with guidance and encouragement. Since becoming a care recipient household under Tzu Chi, the Foundation has provided the family with a monthly subsidy and educational support for their children. The volunteers had visited them 120 times over the past ten years. The visits helped Mr and Mrs Wong get out of their mental predicament.

In August 2021, Mr Wong returned to work at a fast-food restaurant, and both of his children graduated and entered the workforce. Mr and Mrs Wong requested that Tzu Chi discontinue their subsidies when their current income was sufficient to sustain their lifestyle. Mr Wong would pass his excess daily allowance to Mrs Wong, who would put it into a bamboo coin bank, and they would donate it when the volunteers visited each month. They are grateful for Tzu Chi's company over the years and hoped that volunteers would continue to visit them.


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