Comfort in a Pot
Story by Lim Jing Yi
Photo Courtesy of All Saints Home (Yishun)
Sherry Tay has a few passions. Apart from being a part-time music teacher, she is also passionate about helping the elderly. “I come from a big family and I grew up in a large house with my relatives,” says Sherry.
Sherry is part of a volunteer group, All Saints Home Bakers and Befrienders (ABBS), that goes to the Hougang, Tampines, Yishun and Jurong East branches of All Saints Home every week. Every Thursday, Sherry and her team of volunteers visit the Yishun branch and take part in the Share-A-Pot campaign, an initiative started by Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. The campaign aims to reach out to the elderly living inside and outside of the old folk’s home.
“This is a good programme,” she says. She also stated that she intends to continue for as long as she is able to. “It promotes racial harmony, fosters bonds between volunteers and the elderly and also offers them a listening ear. Our society has evolved and it has become so restricted. I want to give the elderly the dignity they deserve.”
The home cooks a pot of traditional, homemade soup and serves it to the elderly. Before the elderly can drink the soup, they’ll have a session of song and dance to stimulate their muscles. Sherry and her team of volunteers would come with new songs every week.
Sherry tears up as she tells us how much she feels for the elderly. “Volunteering here gives me a sense of fulfilment. They have given so much of their lives to build our nation only for them to be slowly forgotten along with their contributions.” She tries her best to foster a friendship between the residents and her volunteer group.
“I want to give the elderly here hope in society,” says Sherry. By volunteering in the home, She gets to put two of her favourite things together: music and laughter. Every week, with the music programme, Sherry and her team would screen the karaoke version of the songs such that the residents can look at the words and sing along. They also make it a point to sing songs of different languages, such as Malay, English and Tamil to cater to the residents of different ethnicity.
“Singing different songs also helps me pick up different languages,” Sherry says with a laugh. “I didn’t think I would ever converse in Malay, but now, I can even speak a bit of Malay!”
Volunteering helps her to fully utilise her day. “It’s never a wasted day here,” she says happily. “It’s always fulfilling and meaningful.”