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TAKING HEART

ChariTrees light up the spirit of giving

Annual fundraiser pays tribute to efforts of individuals and charities in fight against Covid-19

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President Halimah Yacob (right) at the ChariTrees light-up at the Marina Bay Waterfront Promenade on Sunday. She was joined by (from left) Gasper Tan, chief executive of the Samaritans of Singapore; Jennie Chua, TRCL chairman; and Tan Puay Kern, chairman of the ChariTrees 2020 organising committee.

Singapore

TWENTY-seven specially designed Christmas trees lit up Marina Bay Waterfront Promenade on Sunday in support of the fight against the ongoing Covid-19 public health crisis, despite a heavy evening downpour.

The light-up of the trees, which are part of annual fundraiser ChariTrees 2020, was graced by President Halimah Yacob.

She was joined by ChariTrees 2020 organising committee chairman Tan Puay Kern, and representatives of the co-organisers - Gasper Tan, the chief executive of the Samaritans of Singapore and Jennie Chua, chairman of TRCL (The Rice Company Ltd).

ChariTrees2020 focuses on two social causes that have taken on added urgency during the current situation, as well as recognising the efforts of community heroes who have done their part for the betterment of the underserved during this period.

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The two social causes are Samaritans of Singapore (SOS), which carries out intervention and suicide prevention services; and the #ENGAGE Initiative by arts and culture organisation TRCL, which provides vulnerable children with digital devices and digital-art programmes to equip them with know-how and creative skills.

These charities epitomise key concerns brought about by the pandemic, namely mental well-being and digital inclusivity.

The ChariTrees movement has raised about S$211,000 for these two charities this year.

Mr Tan of the organising committee said: "We are grateful to all our donors, sponsors and partners for their support and generous giving spirit. As 2020 draws to a close, we hope the ChariTrees will be a source of inspiration and light to all of us, cheering us on in our fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

He added: "In such challenging times, it is even more important that we continue to remember and support those in need among us. Together, we can make this year-end season of giving and goodwill more meaningful and significant."

Now in its 10th year, ChariTrees is a movement that sees the Marina Bayfront Waterfront Promenade being lit up by uniquely designed Christmas Trees.

Past beneficiaries of ChariTrees have included The Business Times Budding Artists Fund, which provides arts education for economically distanced young talents, and the Community Chest.

ChariTrees 2020 will also recognise the efforts of individuals who, throughout the public health crisis in Singapore, have stepped out to alleviate the many challenges and suffering faced by the underserved.

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