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SPH Staff Empty Their Coin Banks For Needy Children (ST)

BackOct 02, 2010

THE 'little blue boys' were unplugged and emptied. Coins were jingled into money bags and dollar notes and cheques went into a box.

The money came from the staff of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), who took part in The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (SPMF) Help-A-Kid coin bank initiative yesterday.

The company had bought 4,140 of the bright blue, boy-shaped coin banks for its employees so they could fill the boys' bellies, so to speak, in time for Children's Day yesterday, which coincided with the 10th anniversary of the fund.

The coins were bagged for counting at the Singapore Mint; the takings in dollar notes and cheques exceeded $7,700. The money will be sent to the National Council of Social Service, which administers the SPMF for 12,400 children who need money for transport and meals in school.

SPH chief executive Alan Chan, who also emptied his coin bank in the auditorium of News Centre in Toa Payoh North, said: 'Charity begins at home. This is clearly demonstrated by our staff of all levels stepping forward and giving generously to the SPMF.'

Separate collection drives took place on Thursday at SPH's other premises in Genting Lane and Jurong Port Road.

Since July, companies, schools and individuals have bought more than 52,000 of these little blue boys at $5 each.

Like SPH, companies such as Manulife and Seagate bought the coin banks in bulk for their employees; kindergartens Carpe Diem Kidsworld and EQ Educare got them for their charges, while the old boys of St Andrew's Junior School sponsored 1,450 coin banks for pupils.

The vice-chairman of the school's Parent-Teacher Association committee, Dr Leroy McCully, was inspired by his wife, who bought 20 such coin banks as door gifts at their eight-year-old son's birthday party. The dentist roped in friends and family to sponsor the cost of the coin banks for the school.

School principal Wai Yin Pryke said: 'Our children are really quite blessed, and it is good for them to learn how to be a blessing to others.'

Ms Bertha Henson, an associate editor of The Straits Times and the organising chairman of the fund, said she hoped those who have the coin banks will take the next step - fill them up and donate the contents to the fund.

OCBC Bank has, since last month, been the exclusive collection centre for the coin banks. Donors may drop in at any of its 18 Sunday banking branches until the end of this month to hand in their filled banks. From tomorrow, the bank will give out an SPMF teddy bear to children who make donations.

Other banks are also pitching in.

Yesterday, DBS Treasury & Markets donated $118,000 to the fund; HSBC is to donate $100,000 today at a carnival at the East Coast Park.

To order Help-A-Kid coin banks, email stfund@sph.com.sg