For most of her life, 85-year-old Leong Thai Thai has been cleaning up after people.
But yesterday, the retired cleaner took a break as a group of young volunteers scrubbed the floor, cleaned the toilet and wiped down the dusty window grilles of her one-room flat.
A total of 150 volunteers, including 30 students from Bishan Park Secondary School and Sembcorp staff, family and friends, cleaned 50 flats for the elderly in Yishun yesterday.
"I haven't cleaned my window grilles in a while," said Madam Leong, who lives alone. "It needs me to do some climbing and I'm afraid I might fall. I'm glad they are here to help."
One of the volunteers was 13-year-old Gavin Chan.
"We get to help the elderly, make them happy for a day," said the Anglican High student, who brought along five young friends.
His mother Emmy Teo, 41, a Sembcorp employee, was the one who urged him to take part in her company's annual spring cleaning event four years back, and it has become a tradition.
"It exposes the kids to how others live in Singapore; it's a good learning opportunity," she said.
Said student Mohammed Iman Mirza, 16, from Bishan Park Secondary: "The Pioneer Generation has given so much to us; it's time we give back to them too."
The volunteers also had traditional Chinese New Year lohei sessions with the elderly and distributed new household appliances, such as kettles and toasters, to them.
Yesterday, the Singapore General Hospital also held its annual Project GroomOver, where needy residents in the Bukit Merah and Henderson areas received help with their spring cleaning.
About 450 doctors, nurses and volunteers rolled up their sleeves and gave 40 homes a good cleaning while providing other health services.
Pharmacists sorted out the elderly residents' medications while SingHealth resident doctors did basic health screenings for them.
This article was first published on Feb 08 2015.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.