Charity flea mart: 2 months to get stock, 2 days to clear it

HELPING THE NEEDY: Madam Fion Phua used to run a flea market at the hawker centre.

When Madam Fion Phua, 43, got a text message last month from the management of Kampung@Simpang Bedok, she panicked.

"The message just said, 'Hi, Simpang Bedok will be closed by this weekend.

Please clear out all your stuff'," said Madam Phua, who ran a charity flea market there.

The message came just two days before the hawker centre was to close.

"It took me about two months to gather donations for the flea market. I had to clear everything in two days," said Madam Phua, who is also the owner of a company that buys and sells club memberships.

Her flea market invites the public to donate items to be sold.

The money is then used to top up the ez-link cards of needy children.

Organising volunteers on her Facebook group Keeping Hope Alive, she managed to gather 60 people, five cars and one lorry to help clear the stock from her flea market.

She explained that each item had to be categorised before it could be packed and moved.

That weekend, Madam Phua and her volunteers shifted everything from Bedok to the void decks of three flats along Henderson Road.

Over 20 cartons of donated clothing, toys and shoes that were supposed to be sold at the flea market were, within three hours, given to needy families in the area.

"We were very lucky we managed to move and give most things out on time," said Madam Phua. "But some of the items couldn't be given away."

NOT NEEDED

Of the items that were donated to the flea market, things like rollerblades and child car seats were things the needy families had no use for.

"We had some of the volunteers take these items back, which were then sold online. The money raised was used to top up children's ez-link cards and to pay for a girl's music lesson," she said.

As for the two months Madam Phua's flea market was open, she managed to raise over $1,000.

"I'm waiting for the end of the year to use the money to top up the ez-link cards," she said.

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