To feed the hungry, we first need to say, ‘Yes!’ – Magsaysay Awardee Tony Tay

Tony Tay

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To feed the hungry, we first need to say, ‘Yes!’ – Magsaysay Awardee Tony Tay

LeAnne Jazul

For more than a decade, Tony Tay's organization of volunteers – Willing Hearts – feeds the hungry and homeless in Singapore

The 6 recipients of the prestigious 2017 Ramon Magsaysay Awards were officially recognized during their presentation ceremonies at the Cultural Center of the Philippines on Thursday, August 31.

Among the awardees is Singapore’s Tony Tay, whose “Willing Hearts” organization never failed to feed around 6,000 homeless people every day in the last 14 years.

Here is the full text of his speech as provided by the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation.

(Read also: Singapore’s Tony Tay: More than a decade of food giving and volunteerism)


Vice President of the Philippines Maria Leonor Robredo, trustees of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, honored guests, members of the Magsaysay family, fellow awardees, ladies and gentlemen. 

Thank you for the award. It is a great honor. 

Willing Hearts started with one word – yes. Yes to the Canossian sisters to help them collect extra bread that were not sold for the day from a bakery. Yes to distribute the rest of the bread to those who needed it. Yes to collect the extra vegetables from the wholesalers. Yes to my wife when she asked to cook for the elderly who couldn not cook for themselves. Yes to all who asked for help along the way.

And along the way, I asked for help and many said, “yes,” so Willing Hearts is a journey of many who said, “yes” to those in need.

I never thought that our work would grow so big. There were no big plans when we started. There are no big plans now. There are no big plans for the future. Just one plan: God’s plan.

There are many people to thank. I would like to thank and offer this award:  

  • To God: the honor and glory belongs to God for making all things possible. He has given me the strength and the courage to keep Willing Hearts going. Without God’s blessing, we would be nowhere.  
  • To my late mother: for being the model and the spirit behind Willing Hearts. 
  • To my wife: for being the pillar of support in my journey. As they say, “Behind every successful man, there is a woman.” Thank you for always being there, Mary!
  • To the donors, supporters, and volunteers: for believing and supporting Willing Hearts since day one, and for being there 365 days a year, to help the needy all these years.

Lastly, thank you to everybody here for sharing this honor. I salute and give my best wishes to the other award winners. –

Read the speeches of other 2017 Ramon Magsaysay Awards recipients:

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