Singer's free-meal project suspends fund raising

Singer's free-meal project suspends fund raising
Singer-songwriter and founder of Project Awareness Elson Soh, (in red jacket) with volunteers giving out free packets of mixed-vegetable rice to residents.

SINGAPORE - A social initiative to help the needy has suspended its fund-raising activities after the Commissioner of Charities (COC) queried its accounts earlier this week.

A notice on Project Awareness' Facebook page on Thursday said it was preparing documents for the COC "so that more transparency can be given to all parties".

Mr Elson Soh, a 25-year-old singer who founded Project Awareness as a non-profit group in February, confirmed the voluntary suspension of activities, but did not answer further queries.

Its project coordinator, Mr William Soh, 37, told The Straits Times that while its on-going food programme will continue, other activities such as fund raising and home visits to elderly beneficiaries will stop for now.

On Tuesday, the COC wrote to Mr Elson Soh, asking him to account for the amount of donations received to date.

It has given him until next Wednesday to detail the procedures to ensure proper accountability to its donors. Mr Soh has also been asked to explain how he identifies the beneficiaries for his project's fund-raising activities.

A COC spokesman said even though Project Awareness is not a registered charity and does not have to be to solicit donations, it would still have to comply with certain legal obligations under The Charities (Fund-Raising Appeals for Local and Foreign Charitable Purposes) Regulations for fund-raising appeals in Singapore.

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