Sometimes, all it takes is a spark of passion to make a big impact. This was demonstrated in the inspiring “just do it” attitude displayed by long-time friends Deirdre and Petrina, also known as Fresh Off The Press, who conducted a series of 14 floral-pressing workshops last Christmas to raise a total of $2531 for vulnerable homeowners.
It all started as a crazy idea from Deirdre in late November. She had been learning how to press flowers since the circuit breaker and had all these spare flowers lying around. While wondering what to do with the materials, a thought struck her: Why not conduct floral pressing workshops to raise funds for a cause during Christmas? She raised the idea to Petrina, who despite uncertainties about how successful it would be, as well as the tight timeline, immediately agreed to the idea. Petrina shared:
“I have this screenshot which Deirdre sent. She was like, ‘Pet, I got like this random idea. You know…what if, I got a lot of flowers. What if, we took them and we just taught people how to press flowers and make some frames, and we donate all the profits to some organisation?’ It really just started like that. And I just said, ‘Okay, let’s do it.’”
What started on a whim blew up beyond the imaginations of the two friends. The workshops, where Deirdre and Petrina would teach participants how to press flowers and design their own customised frames, received overwhelming response. Initially, friends and family made up majority of the participants, but then they started to invite their own friends and family too. Waiting lists soon formed. Deirdre and Petrina found themselves shopping for materials each week and conducting a workshop at someone’s house every other day after work.
“In the end, we conducted 14 workshops with 57 participants, ranging from 2-years-old to over 60-years-old! We were completely humbled when we hit $2.5k at the end of December because just a month ago we didn’t know if this would take flight. And we were overjoyed when Habitat announced the donations would be matched dollar-to-dollar, as we could now tell our participants that $5k would go towards giving vulnerable Singaporeans the comfort and security of a home this Christmas.”
So, what motivated the pair to go the extra mile for vulnerable homeowners within our midst? Deirdre shared:
“We really have the privilege of gathering in homes. And even as we have such a safe & comfortable home to celebrate in and to invite people over, we just wanted to remember people who didn’t have that very basic privilege […] As we conducted the workshop, we saw more and more how apt it was. […] Even as we gathered in homes to celebrate the festive season together, and we made stuff to brighten other people’s homes, it was really a reminder of what a joy and privilege this (having a decent home) is.”
The big-hearted pair are no strangers to community work. Deirdre has been volunteering with vulnerable youths in the MacPherson community for the past 7 years. It was during her volunteering sessions that she witnessed firsthand the less-than-ideal living conditions of some youths who lived in small, rental flats. Deirdre shared how the students were unable to focus on their studies:
“They don’t really have a place, or even a table or a chair, or the kind of personal space to be doing homework at home. Or it’s very rowdy as they have younger siblings. Or some of them they sleep in the living room, or they don’t have a proper bed, instead, they sleep on a mattress on the floor.”
Petrina on the other hand has been passionately championing the anti-women-trafficking/slavery cause for the last 2 years. She has been working closely with Hagar to raise funds and awareness about their work, whether be it participating in fundraising campaigns or organising her own sharing sessions. She has also been volunteering with YWAM in their migrant brother ministry.
It truly warms our hearts to see the compassion Deirdre and Petrina have for the vulnerable in Singapore, to love more and do more for the people who have the highest risk of falling through the cracks. When asked to share their hopes for the homeowners which they have blessed, this is what they had to say:
“That the money would be used to give them a safe and comfortable home. That they have a space that is livable where they can do their day-to-day activities, their work, spending time with their family. A place that is safe and comfortable.”
We have exciting news! Fresh Off The Press will be collaborating with Habitat Singapore to conduct another series of floral-pressing workshops. The sessions will be held from April to May 2022 - details to be confirmed. Stay tuned to our social media pages for more details when they are released! We hope to see you there 😊