Soup Kitchen founder one of nine lauded for charity work

Soup Kitchen founder one of nine lauded for charity work
Seven of the nine President's Volunteerism and Philanthropy Award winners. (From left) Care Corner Counselling Centre manager Jonathan Siew, Standard Chartered Bank corporate affairs head Eva Ang, Willing Hearts founder Tony Tay, Keppel Group corporate communications deputy general manager Teri Liew, Children's Cancer Foundation chairman Tay Miah Hiang, Beautiful People committee member Quek Jing Yan and HCA Hospice Centre CEO R. Akhileswaran.

Mr Tony Tay's typical work day can stretch up to 14 hours as the 66-year-old cooks and distributes food to the poor.

His routine starts at 4.30am, when he heads to the Genting Lane kitchen of Willing Hearts, the charity he founded, to oversee the preparation of 3,000 meals.

After the food is delivered to 38 distribution points, his focus shifts to the next day's meals, ensuring that such staples as bread and rice as well as eggs, meat and vegetables have not run out.

He calls it a day around 7 pm.

This unrelenting dedication to serving the community won the retired businessman top honours yesterday: the President's Volunteerism and Philanthropy Award.

Reflecting on his work since he founded Willing Hearts 10 years ago, Mr Tay said: "We've only one life, so why not make full use of it? As long as I can wake up and can serve, I will do it."

He was among nine recipients of the annual award presented at a ceremony last night by President Tony Tan Keng Yam.

The others include volunteer group Beautiful People, which helps troubled teenage girls, and non-profit organisation Care Corner Counselling Centre.

Their work was also held up by Mr Stanley Tan, chairman of the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre, when he urged Singaporeans to do more for the poor and not to "fully delegate it out to the Government".

He said: "Building engaged and compassionate communities means having communities that can look after themselves and the weak among them, are self-reliant and not dependent on the Government to solve every single problem."

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