Willing Hearts has a simple philosophy when it comes to volunteering – Just come with a warm smile, two helping hands, an open and willing heart, and one simple question “How can I be of help today?” That is all it takes to volunteer at Willing Hearts!
The Soup Kitchenopens daily – yes! 365 days a year inclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, Public Holidays such as New Year’s Day, Chinese New Year 1st and 2nd Day, Good Friday, Labour Day, Vesak Day, Hari Raya Puasa, National Day, Hari Raya Haji, Deepavali and Christmas.
It operates from 4.30 am to 2.30 pm – yes, 4.30am on most days! Give and take a little, as we do get tired sometimes too:)
The flurry of activities starts as soon as the doors to the kitchen are open. Pots and pans are constantly clanging. Grills sizzle while dishes for the day are prepared. Smells of freshly cooked rice fills the air. Hands busy scooping and packing meal boxes. Sloshing and splashing water while cleaning and washing up. Preparing ingredients such as the chopping of vegetables of the next days. It continues through the day until the last task is completed and the kitchen cleaned and ready for the next day.
(Phew! What a mouthful!)
Remember to stay and help with the cleaning from 3:30pm to 5:00pm. Please help us help you create a safe, conducive environment by cleaning up as you go along… every little bit helps!
Here’s what a typical day looks like (sometimes, it varies a little)
- * 4:30am to 8:30am – Cooking 40%, Packing 40%, Cleaning 10%
- * 8:30am to 12:00pm – Preparation 50%, Cooking 20%, Packing 20%, Cleaning 10%
- 12:00pm to 3:30pm – Preparation 70%, Cleaning 10%
- 3:30pm to 5:00pm – Cleaning 100%
- * where help is needed most
When you first arrive at Willing Hearts, you may find yourself “lost” in the midst of the hustle and bustle of activity in the kitchen. Do not worry – many first timers tend to feel “lost” so here is a list of various stations, which are available for volunteers to help at –
- Preparation of ingredients – This would include chopping vegetables, opening bottles and packets of seasoning and sauces, opening cans and packets of food, and just about any other task so the meals can be cooked and delivered on time.
- Packing of Lunch Boxes – This is a relatively simple task: line lunch boxes, scoop a portion of rice along with the dishes for the day, close lunch box and put it into the delivery basket.
- Cleaning and Washing – This is often the most overlooked part of the whole operation. Used trays, covers, baskets, cooking utensils, pots and pans all need washing.
- General Help – There will always be someone who needs a helping hand at the soup kitchen. Someone WILL grab you along the way, asking for help.
If someone tells you that the station that you have approach does not need help, please do not be disheartened – what you can do is to move on to another where help is required. There is never too much help.
Just a little mention on family volunteers – Often we are asked if children can volunteer alongside their parents at Willing Hearts. We encourage families to volunteer as a unit with open arms.We see many families volunteering together as a unit; children as young as 5 to adults volunteering with their parents. There are always something for the young ones to do like sticking labels on the lunch boxes. While we do not have a specific age limits, parents are still responsible for the well-being and safety of their children, especially those below 16.
Just a little mention on Community Involvement Programme (CIP) – Yes! we do accord CIP Hours! What you need to do is to approach Uncle Tony and fill in the record book. Please remember to sign in and out so we are able to ascertained that you have been at the kitchen for us to issue you a letter. *** UPDATED 3rd August 2016 ***
For your own personal safety and general hygiene purposes, [and to a tiny degree, for our sanity:)]
- Please wear closed-toe shoes (i.e. sneakers, tennis shoes, etc.). No slippers, flip flops and sandals, please
- T-shirts must have sleeves and one that you would not mind getting stains on it. No tank tops, please
- Bermudas, culottes, tights, etc, allowed as long as they are at or below the knee. No short shorts please.
Just as you would not like to see any stain of hair or any inedible in your food, our beneficiaries do not appreciate them too! These * items will be provided for you in the kitchen.
- You MUST put on a *disposable hair net while in the kitchen. Please ensure that hair is tucked neatly into the net like this, otherwise, there is little point in putting on a hair net.
- The use of *gloves IS required when handling food, except at the vegetable
- To prevent stains on on your clothes, *aprons is highly recommended – you may choose to bring your own.
- NO jewelry, please! Not even earrings, bracelets and rings.Remember about not liking to find inedible items in our food?… enough said.
Health and Safety
Extracted from NEA’s Food Hygiene Practices & Guidelines
- Do not work when feeling unwell. Seek medical attention immediately.
- Avoid coughing and sneezing near food.
- Avoid touching the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hair or skin when handling food.
- Wash your hands with soap before handling food, after using the toilet, and after coughing and sneezing. Work up a good lather,paying attention to fingers, nails, and back of the hand. Dry hands using paper towels or hand dryers. Please view NEA’s Importance of Proper Hand Washing Video
- DO NOT handle food with bear hands. Use gloves or utensils.
- Keep fingernails short and clean and not put on nail polish or fake fingernails. Bacteria harboured under fingernails can get into food when fingernails come into contact with food. Bacteria will multiply and contaminate food. Do not wear rings and other accessories that might trap dirt.
- Cover all wounds and cuts on your hands with waterproof plasters.
- Wear clean attire.
- Keep hair and beard neat and tidy. Long hair should be tied up using hair restraints such as caps.
- Keep food preparation surfaces and equipment clean.
- Practice good refuse management.
Photography and Videography *** UPDATED 3rd August 2016 ***
NO photography and/or videography allowed, with immediate effect, within the soup kitchen and at all distribution points, without the written permission from the management of Willing Hearts.
We have received feedback from beneficiaries and volunteers concerning photos and video taken. Some have expressed that consideration be given and consent sought to safeguard and respect both beneficiaries and volunteers alike. We seek cooperation and understanding so that we can create a positive and meaningful environment for all. Should there be a need for pictures or videos, please write in to us so that the necessary consents are obtain prior. Thank you in advance for your cooperation!