26 May 2019
21 Ramadan 1440H
IMSSA has been organizing iftars for a decade now – what started as small gatherings at void decks has now grown to a scale of an average of about 4,000 participants. Alhamdulillah!
This year’s Harmony Iftar @ Marine Parade Cluster was jointly organized by Marine Parade GRC, MacPherson and Mountbatten SMCs’ MAECs, People’s Association (PA) MESRA, and IMSSA. It was held at Kampong Ubi Community Centre and our Guest-of-Honour for the event was President Madam Halimah Yacob! We also wanted to commemorate our Bicentennial year and included activities like folding green packets, quilling art making and jawi writing, to pay tribute to the Merdeka Generation of Singapore. Preparation for the event started months in advance, with the organizing committee having monthly meetings to iron out the logistics and agenda for the big day. Finally, it came down to the week before the event.
Our volunteers all came down for the Pre-Iftar on the 25th of May. The day before is crucial, as this is when vegetable prep begins for cooking the next day, when the deco team starts to set up, and when the logistics – from massive pots and pans to the disposables – are all laid out.
On event day, our volunteers started reporting at 7am. The cooking and kitchen team were on-site way ahead of this, at the crack of dawn! By 10am, things were in full swing with the respective teams operating under the guidance of their team leaders. Packing had to be done for porridge, sahar food and iftar food. Then came layout and distribution.
We also had 300 external volunteers from various organizations – Victoria Junior College, Dunman High, Catholic High, NUS Muslim Society, Saint Anthony’s Canossian Secondary, SECDC Racial Harmony Youth Ambassadors, and last but not least, teachers from NIE. So why these many volunteers? First, it is a huge event and we need as many hands as possible. But more than that, we hope to instil the spirit of volunteerism in as many people as possible.
For the past three years, we have raised funds to provide about 350 underprivileged families with food supplies and cash vouchers during the event. This year, we doubled the contribution to 700 families and our volunteers from Victoria Junior College and Catholic High were involved in the packing of the goodie bags and NTUC vouchers. The Host Advisers later gave out these items to their residents after the break of fast.
The event concluded at about 8pm after the Host Advisers, residents and beneficiaries from the seven CCs took their leave. We were heartened to receive feedback from ESM Goh Chok Tong, saying that he thoroughly enjoyed his bento meal and that he was surprised it was so tasty despite it being mass cooking. We also take great pride in our Harmony Iftars having become a platform for people from various races and faiths to come together and interact.
At time of writing, we are left with one more Harmony Iftar happening on 2nd June 2019 at Bishan Active Park. IMSSA would like to cordially invite you to join us there. Insya’allah, may we make the most of the last few days of the holy month and may we all receive the gift of experiencing Ramadan again next year. Ameen.