Many giving funeral money to charity

Many giving funeral money to charity

SINGAPORE- When Mr Loh Ngiap Kwang died suddenly from a heart attack in January, his shocked family members rushed to make funeral arrangements and held vigil at the wake for four nights.

Though family members intended to give some of the condolence money, or "pek kim", to the needy, they had neither the energy nor the presence of mind to do so.

"It was the last thing on my mind, though we wanted to remember our dad by giving back this way," said daughter Evangeline Loh, 33. However, the grieving family was spared the trouble.

Their funeral company, Singapore Casket, had tied up with the country's largest donation portal, SG Gives, which allows donations to be made to charities through an online memorial page.

Through Mr Loh's memorial page set up on the Heaven Address website, family and friends could not only light a virtual candle or joss stick for the 67-year-old, but also click on a link to donate to the family's appointed charities - the Kidney Dialysis Foundation, Lions Home for the Elders and Man Fut Tong Nursing Home.

The link redirected them to the SG Gives portal, where they could donate straight to the charity using their credit cards or Internet banking.

Since the partnership between Singapore Casket and SG Gives began in January, around $44,000 in donations have been channelled to 20 partner charities, as at the end of last month.

Though there are online memorials of clients from other funeral companies on Heaven Address, online donations can be done only for customers of Singapore Casket.

Stakeholders say the practice of donating to charities instead of, or on top of, the usual "pek kim" is gaining traction.

"Some tell their relatives to donate to us directly, while others collect pek kim and pass the money to us," said Singapore Children's Society executive director Alfred Tan.

The organisation is one of the top three charities to garner the most donations - more than $7,000 - through the online initiative.

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