MADAM Fion Phua started volunteering in homes for the elderly in her teens.
With what she earned from her waitressing job, she bought oats and
But the staff there poured cold water on her efforts.
'They told me not to give the old folk food that was too good as it would prolong their lives. Also, the old folk wouldn't know what good food was.'
Disillusioned with what she heard and saw at the homes, she decided to strike out on her own.
In her free time over the last 20 years, she has been reaching out to the elderly and the needy in one- and two-room flats from Geylang Serai to Henderson and Marsiling.
She is not with any registered charity and counts on her friends and contacts for helping hands to distribute groceries.
She said: 'It's not about the money - it's about the heart. If you have the heart to help others, you will do it.'
She said her acts of compassion do not spring from any particular religion, just that 'it makes life more meaningful for me when I see that people appreciate the work I do and I see their lives improve. My personal life experience is so much richer, and this is something money can't buy'.
People who have heard of her work call to offer to donate items they want to give away. She then checks to see which families need these items and arranges for them to be delivered.
But things have not always fallen into place for her.
She recalled being unable to deliver a wheelchair to an old man on time - he died shortly after from a fall.
She said she was racked by guilt, because 'if we had sent the chair, he might have lived'.
But she does not allow setbacks like this to keep her down, nor does she think it is time to call it a day.
The busy woman has already lined up her next delivery of food to the needy on June 29.
Report from straits times.