SINGAPORE: Toy claw machines are a common sight in game arcades and carnivals, but for one charity, they have become an affordable way to raise funds.
The Thye Hwa Kwan (THK) Moral Society rolled out two of these machines at the Junction 8 mall in Bishan on Monday (Jan 2), at the launch of an exhibition to highlight its services.
The charity's chairman, Lee Kim Siang, said that given the uncertain economic outlook, voluntary welfare organisations (VWO) need to find "innovative ways" to raise funds. "If we do a TV show, it's going to cost quite a hefty sum. The going rate was a million dollars," said Mr Lee.
He added that THK has not yet been affected by the economy: "We are okay … in good times and bad times, people help us."
For instance, the cost of the claw machines was covered by donors. The charity bought a total of 10 machines from China for about S$10,000, which included the cost of shipping. To help save on maintenance costs, two THK staff were trained to maintain and repair the machines.
For S$2 per play, the public can have a go at the machine to try and win stuffed toys. THK hopes to raise S$2,000 during the one-week exhibition. The money will go towards the charity’s programmes and services like its free meal centres and free medical clinics.
Speaking at the exhibition, Member of Parliament for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, Saktiandi Supaat, also agreed that VWOs could do more in this economic climate to encourage donors to continue to give.
"One way, like what they're (THK) doing, is trying to use innovative, creative ways to fundraise," he said, adding that it is also important for charities to raise awareness of the services they provide.
"Residents still appreciate the services that are provided by organisations like Thye Hwa Kwan ... that would create a bit more awareness, and a lot of fundraising can still continue in the year ahead,” said Mr Saktiandi.
The claw machines will be at the Junction 8 mall until Sunday, and from Jan 16, they will be at Ang Mo Kio Hub and Northpoint Shopping Centre for at least a month.