Hello! Can I Help?

I got out of bed before the sun rose on National Day and drove to a nondescript industrial building in the Potong Pasir area. I was a little apprehensive as I stepped out of my car. But I pushed my uncertainties aside as I took the old industrial lift up to the 4th floor.

As the heavy doors trundled open, the buzz of activity was palpable. I was at the right place. Welcome to Willing Hearts Soup Kitchen. A 100% volunteer-based organisation which feeds about 3000 people 365 days a year. 

I was told that there is no roster system so I should just show up and pitch in wherever needs help. 

Upon entering the premises, wasn't quite sure what to do with myself, so I just went up to the first person I saw and said, "Hello! Can I help?" with what I hoped was as much of a dazzling smile as I could muster.

I was immediately put to work packing buns into individual plastic bags. Soon several other helpers gathered around and the task was completed swiftly.

I then wandered further into the kitchen and discovered that the place was huge and there was an army of volunteers chopping vegetables, frying eggs, cooking curry, washing ingredients and boiling rice. There was such a spirit of joy as everyone was working together for a common cause.

Another friendly "Hello! Can I help?", and I was put to work peeling onions. But not before the Aunty insisted that I had rubbed my lips with salt, which she said prevented one from tearing while peeling onions. It was a humbling yet enjoyable experience as I worked with a student, a housewife, a wrinkled old Aunty and an urban professional to peel sacks of onions. Most of us still ended up with a bucket of tears, but the Aunty seemed immune. We must have been doing it all wrong.

As the food deliveries went out, I asked if they needed help. Uncle Tony said they had enough delivery help for the day, but he asked if I could go "love an old lady". He called the lady, and got me to take down her address, then passed me a packet of food, a box of biscuits and sent me on my way. I wasn't sure what I had gotten myself into. But a few minutes later, I was at a block of 2 room flats. I was first greeted with the smell of damp and urine then the sight of a cluttered messy place. 

"Hello?" I called. I heard a response from inside and an old lady hunched over came shuffling out. She apologized profusely for the mess and for taking a long time to get to the door as her body just didn't allow her to move any faster. She then invited me in. I ended up staying for almost an hour. 

I said a silent prayer and asked for wisdom and the words to encourage this lady, as I listened to her pour out her tales of her history and her ailments. I wanted so much to help, but I didn't know how. So I did what I knew. Before I left, I offered to pray for her, which she graciously accepted. And I trust that our loving Heavenly Father will hold her close and give her sufficient grace. 

I thank God for organizations like Willing Hearts that reach out in practical ways to those in need around us. In a society with so much, nobody should have to go hungry.

Extending a hand could be as simple as a willing heart and a  "Hello! Can I help?"

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