Thursday, December 25, 2008

A family Outing..with a singular difference!

Family outings are usually tough things to plan. Try that with a dozen families or so and it can be a logistical nightmare. Still that didn’t stop four friends from doing it and doing it each time for single parents for the last three years.

Michael Moey, Dolly Chan, Mary Verguese and Tan Gaik Khim were buddies from USM ( Class of 1976) and this fab four were given a lump sum of money for charity way back in 2006 by A-da Solutions (M) Sdn Bhd plus various individual well-wishers. The four wanted to give single parents some quality time with their children. “During this time, they get to fellowship with other single mothers and participate in the many fun activities eg visits to tea estate, strawberry farm, vegetable farm etc,” Khim says.

This year, they did the same with some 12 families, all single parents recommended by Jumble Station, a community outreach initiative to assist Single Parents in need. We chose single parents who really needed a break or could do with a little pampering for a change. There was Mary Dass, the Mother Theresa of Desa Mentari near Sunway. She has a 20 year old daughter and every one in need at Desa Mentari goes to her for help.

There was Amethy with her two children, there was Krishnan a single father of 5 kids, there was Alice and her two kids, Meng Hong from Kajang with her two daughters, Lonvy from Sungai Buloh with her eight year old son Shaun, there was Anna and Alice, a grandmother of 5 kids that she's caring for and a couple of others as well. Yours truly went along as well to see first hand what it was like and to photograph the families on holiday at cool, CheFoo Centre at Cameron Highlands!

Both parents and kids enjoyed themselves visiting Strawberry and vegetable farms, vegetable market, pasar malam, pasar pagi and touring the Boh Tea plantation. Meals were a hefty affair, nasi lemak in the mornings to biscuits and cookies for tea and dinner saw loads of Cameron vegetables, seafood and meat aplenty, whatever hunger were easily appeased. Lunch too at Tanah Rata was a special treat thanks to the generousity of the Kiwanis of Puchong and Cheras which had graciously agreed to sponsor the meal for our hungry troupe and we all tucked into the seafood cum meat platter voraciously.

What made the trip memorable to many was the thoughtful gesture on the part of the fab four to have the photographs of each single parent and their kids taken after which it was promptly developed and printed. Each family then were given manila cards and ribbons and told to decorate their own photo albums the best way they could. The most creative were awarded prizes but for many of the families, the photographs will be a lasting momento of their precious time together and the precious gift of good times together by an unknown donor who knew how to give the gift of giving in a more meaningful way.

The only sad part of this story? There will not be a 4th outing because the lump sum given by the mysterious donor is finished. The single parents don’t know this, Jumble Station hopes that somewhere out there, someone will step forward to continue this uniquely beautiful gesture of giving and get the fab four to continue organizing more of such trips for the down and out of society. If you have the cash but don’t have the time, then give us a call 016-2202958 (Anne) and we’ll connect you to one of the fab four so that the lives of more single families can be touched for years to come .

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