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Volunteer Spotlight: The Aly Family

Published: 29 November 2019, Friday

Volunteer Spotlight: The Aly Family

The Aly family, from left to right: Riffat, Hassan, Anser, Zahra, Amena, Alia


Alia, Anser and their children started helping out at Food from the Heart in 2017, when they ran a toy donation drive to collect toys for the Toy Buffet that year. It was a complete effort of gathering, sorting out the toys that were in good condition and those that weren't, lovingly washing and drying some of the toys, and delivering more than 1,000 toys to the Food from the Heart warehouse. Their contribution that year ended with them helping out on the day of the event. They have since helped out at other Food from the Heart programmes and events, including last year’s Toy Buffet.

This year, these seasoned Toy Buffet volunteers took on trickier tasks such as re-wrapping toys with damaged packaging and assisting new volunteers and toy ambassadors.

Amena, 7, Hassan, 10 and Zahra, 13, were also eager to join their elders on the volunteering activities. “They absolutely love coming down to the Toy Buffet every year! They feel grateful for the opportunity to be able to do something for other children. The hours are long as we do a full day shift and it’s physically demanding since they’re on their feet the whole time but knowing that what they’re doing benefits other children their age is a worthy trade-off. Plus, it’s like being in a toy wonderland!” shares Alia.

 The children are specially granted a day off from their school Gems World Academy Singapore, in order to be able to come and volunteer for the day every year, and Alia and Anser also take the day off from work to help out.

Riffat Aly, 87, joins them as the eldest member of the family this year during his short visit to Singapore. As a man devoted to a number of charitable causes, Riffat has never let mobility issues stop him from doing good. To him, a day of voluntarism was a day well-spent, and he was especially keen when he heard his grandchildren talk about the event so enthusiastically.


We ask mother and volunteer, Alia Aly...

Why did you choose to volunteer with Food from the Heart?

Food from the heart was a perfect match (for us) in a number of ways as it touches on a number of causes close to our heart as a family. For example, the Bread Run champions food waste reduction, which our family is passionate about.  As the elderly can often be overlooked in our busy world, we find great meaning in helping out at Food from the Heart's Birthdays from the Heart programme as well. We also feel very much for underprivileged children and try our best to make their day through the Toy Buffet.

 In fact, the Toy Buffet has a special place in their hearts amidst all the charity work the family does.

It is a great fun experience for the beneficiaries; the sheer choice of items available for them, the festive atmosphere and the child-centered approach of the entire day delights each and every child that visits. I feel it is really important for the beneficiary children to experience this as unfortunately, such joys might not be common in their young lives. The joy of giving really cannot be explained in words... It is best experienced live! Without a doubt, we will be volunteering again next year!


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