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Forget me not: Leaving a 'legacy of love' in Singapore

Caritas encourages people to make legacy gifts to support the needy and vulnerable in the city-state

Forget me not: Leaving a 'legacy of love' in Singapore

Children enjoy a meal at Infant Jesus Homes and Children Centers, a member organization of Caritas Singapore. (Photo: YouTube/Caritas Singapore)

Published: April 21, 2022 03:36 AM GMT

Updated: April 21, 2022 03:56 AM GMT

Theresa Foo believes that when devout Christians like her depart the world, they find a place by the side of Christ.

And, before the final call, Christians need to leave a legacy filled with love for the betterment of others who are left behind. “When I return to the Lord, I want to leave a legacy of love,” she says.

A Catholic from St. Ignatius Church in Singapore, the retired woman served as a greeter in the church's hospitality ministry before the Covid-19 pandemic struck two years ago, Catholic News of Singapore Archdiocese reported on April 20.

Now she is a board member of Caritas Singapore, the social service agency of the Catholic Church in Singapore. She regularly donates to charities and non-profit organizations in the city-state.  

Foo, 78, says that as a Catholic she inherits a family tradition to leave a legacy to the Church before she returns to God.

“I grew up in a Catholic family, and faith is important to us. My parents left a legacy in their wills to the Catholic Church. It is now my turn to follow in their footsteps and continue their legacy of support,” she said.

“In our lifetime, we receive bountiful blessings through the love of our heavenly Father. When we go, these gifts that came from him can be entrusted with our loved ones and to his other children to help God’s love live on”

"After all, we are all beneficiaries of a former legacy — the legacy of our parents and that of our heavenly Father, who has most mercifully bestowed his love and blessings upon us.”

Foo’s legacy gift is one of many examples of charitable donations that Caritas Singapore collects during Charities Week from March 12 to May 22.

This annual fundraiser campaign, with the tagline “Let Us Be God’s Love In Action,” seeks to encourage people to donate to sustain the work of 26 Catholic charities and member organizations in the city-state and beyond.

This year the agency has received donations worth US$2 million and by the end of the campaign it expects to hit the goal of raising $8 million, the agency said in a post on Facebook.

Legacy giving is a special type of fundraising for Caritas Singapore. It receives legacy donations in the form of cash, marketable assets like real estate, art, antiques, jewelry, marketable securities (bonds, equities, unit trusts traded in stock exchanges), insurance policies and Central Pension Fund monies.  

“In our lifetime, we receive bountiful blessings through the love of our heavenly Father. When we go, these gifts that came from him can be entrusted with our loved ones and to his other children to help God’s love live on,” Caritas Singapore said in a message for Charities Week.

Legacy giving is the redemption of God’s resources bestowed upon us that goes towards serving our neighbors and nurturing our communities for generations to come, it said.

“By making a legacy gift to Caritas Singapore, the official social and community arm of the Catholic Church in Singapore, you can help sustain the work of our family of charities into the future and bring hope and renewal to our brothers and sisters in need,” the message said.

Caritas Singapore says it guarantees judicious allocation of funds to charities after evaluating their needs and ranking causes that are of the highest priority. It provides regular reports to the donor's family on how the legacy gift is being used. Annually, a third-party auditor carries out an audit to ensure proper use of all donations.  

Despite Singapore being one of the richest nations in Asia, one in every 10 persons in the country lives in poverty, according to the Borgen Project

Donations such as those from legacy gifts have become precious resources to overcome the dire socioeconomic impacts of Covid-19 pandemic.

“When Covid-19 started, some parents lost jobs. Their families do encounter some kind of financial difficulties. More issues evolve, and more violent cases can be seen,” Sandy Ang, head of student care services at Infant Jesus Homes and Children Centers in Singapore, said in a video published by Caritas.

The centers, founded with inspiration from Infant Jesus nuns, serve at-risk children and young persons from financially challenged and disadvantaged family backgrounds.

Ang said Caritas has been sponsoring the centers, while the children and youth who reside there get academic, social and emotional support.

Such assistance is crucial for many people. Despite Singapore being one of the richest nations in Asia, one in every 10 persons in the country lives in poverty, according to the Borgen Project, a global non-profit organization battling poverty and hunger.

Archbishop William Goh of Singapore said that, as disciples of Jesus, Christians are called to be inclusive and to support those who are needy and marginalized.

“Jesus as the leader is always inclusive. He came for the poor, for those who are marginalized and those people who are considered nobody in society. Jesus was one with them. Every person who is involved in humanitarian organizations, even if they are not involved, should adopt being inclusive in their approach, supporting especially those who are weak in society, those who are vulnerable,” the prelate said in his Charities Week 2022 message.

With Jesus’ life and teaching in mind, Theresa Foo has decided to make a legacy gift to Caritas Singapore, which she believes will help provide love, care and support to those in need.

“As a Catholic, I feel that it is only appropriate for me to leave my legacy to a charitable organization that takes care of the poor, marginalized and disadvantaged in our society,” she said.

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