Many people think if you don’t spend much, you are frugal. But being frugal does not mean being cheap, or having a specific spending limit. For example, my parents had very little discretionary income, so they spent very little. This was not because they wanted to be frugal. Rather, it was by necessity, because we were poor. Frugality, is a choice that involves being more conscious and mindful of the value of a purchase, and the associated tradeoffs. It is when a person, who has the necessary means, chooses to optimise value, purpose and resources. These resources can include money, time, effort, hidden costs, and other things.
A big part of being frugal is knowing what your money can be better used for. And for this reason, I strongly believe that charitable giving and frugality can and should exist side-by-side. Instead of spending money on an outfit you will only likely wear once, why not donate that money to a higher and greater cause?
The Ronald McDonald House Charities
Many people criticise McDonald’s because they say their food makes them fat and unhealthy. That’s certainly one way of viewing them. But for me, McDonald’s was what kept me alive – literally.
Their meals were often the most affordable, convenient, and filling meals my family could buy. While I wouldn’t advocate giving a child McDonald’s on a daily basis, I do think that they provide a sought-after product/service in the community. And I would not be here if it weren’t for them.
And they also give back to the community. In addition to their food outlets, they run a huge international charity. Their local chapter here is called the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Singapore.
I recently attended a RMHC media function, and met with Judy Chun, the Executive Director of the RMHC Singapore chapter. She oversees the Ronald McDonald House at NUH. This is a 4-bedroom facility that provides a “home away from home”, free of charge for families whose children are warded and receiving intensive treatment.
This centre, which opened last year, has housed over 170 families. One of these families was also present at the event. The child, who was just two years old at the time, was undergoing an organ transplant. Her mother, of course, wanted to be by her side at all times.
When a hospitalisation lasts for many days, as is often the case with transplantation surgeries, it can be quite challenging for the family to stay and live in the limited ward space. But leaving the child alone for long periods at a time can be traumatic and stressful.
Associate Professor and Senior Consultant Daniel Goh said, “Love and support of the family is as powerful as the strongest medicine. As a child journeys through an illness, the presence of the family and loved ones is the most reassuring factor in the environment of stress, uncertainly and even pain.”
This is the core mission that the RMHC organization hopes to achieve, by providing a comfortable and free nearby place for families to stay while their children are undergoing intensive care.
Here are some photos of the Ronald McDonald House at NUH:
RMHC’s 40th Anniversary Campaign
For the next two weeks, from 15 to 28 Oct, McDonald’s Singapore is joining a global movement to celebrate RMHC’s 40th anniversary. They are encouraging people to support this worthy cause by purchasing red and white striped socks through Groupon for a donation of $10. In appreciation for each purchase, a voucher for a free Strawberry Sundae is included and can be redeemed at any of their food outlets.
There will also be a special free anniversary celebration on 16 Nov at Tampines Mall from 1-5pm. There will be booths for photo taking, balloon sculpting, face painting, and games. For details, or to volunteer for this event, please visit their website.
There are certainly many charitable organizations that have worthy causes. And this is just one of them. Because I was invited to attend their media event, and I learned about the good work they are doing, I wanted to share this with you. And just for the record, I was not paid to write this article.