Singapore businesses lend a hand with cash and in kind

Scores of firms in Singapore are chipping in with donations, airline flights, satellite phones and on-the-ground labour to support victims of Typhoon Haiyan.

The Singapore Red Cross said that about 70 corporations and organisations have contacted it to help in fund-raising efforts.

A dozen more have volunteered to help another local aid agency, Mercy Relief, on ways to raise funds.

At financial giant Credit Suisse, for instance, many staff in Singapore and across the Asia Pacific were encouraged to wear jeans to mark a donation drive. The bank has pledged US$400,000 (S$500,000) in donations.

Among the biggest pledges made by a company here so far is by property developer Oxley Holdings. It will match public donations to the Singapore Red Cross dollar for dollar, up to $1 million.

Other banks have also been active in raising funds.

ANZ and HSBC here are asking staff for donations, while beyond staff donations, DBS Bank and OCBC are allowing customers to make donations via their ATMs and websites.

The latest figures from DBS showed its customers have given some $225,000, while OCBC's clients have given around $36,400.

Retailers are also encouraging shoppers to donate.

Isetan Singapore, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and Dairy Farm's outlets including Cold Storage, Giant and Guardian, will put donation cans at their outlets.

Bakery BreadTalk will on Monday launch two buns with all proceeds to be given to victims.

The Singapore Chefs Association is baking 1,000 tubs of chocolate cookies to be sold to sponsors and suppliers to raise funds.

Other firms with a presence in the Philippines are offering help in kind, not just cash.

Budget carrier Tigerair Singapore is sponsoring air tickets to fly the medical and emergency response teams from the Singapore Red Cross to the Philippines.

Sister firm Tigerair Philippines will offer free cargo space to transport relief goods to victims.

SingTel is working with its Philippine associate, Globe Telecom, to provide 150 satellite phones to help people stay connected in areas where networks are down.

Forty staff from CapitaLand's serviced residence unit, The Ascott, have been volunteering daily in the Philippines since Monday to help pack relief goods.

The Philippine Embassy here thanked Singaporeans in a statement: "The tremendous amount of contributions being given is demonstrative of the people of Singapore's generally caring nature."

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