Free tasty treat for elderly at estate

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 October, 2010, 12:00am

The Cheung family have sold beef brisket noodles in Sha Tin for 54 years - from a time when they cost 30 HK cents a bowl - but now they want to give some away.

From next month they will provide about 100 free bowls of noodles once a month to elderly people at Lek Yuen Estate, where they run a stall, Shing Kee Noodles. The noodles will be handed out from 10am on the 16th day of each month according to the lunar calendar. This is a day after a fast in some religious practices.

'In this old public estate we come face to face with old people in need every day,' said Cheung Man-keung, 48, an owner of the stall.

'Many of them queue up every morning to get free newspapers to sell them. There is this 88-year-old lady who comes to our stall every morning to pick up bottles for recycling so that she can earn just 20 cents for each bottle. I want to do as much as I can for those in need. The satisfaction is more than I can describe.'

The family in the past organised pun choi feasts and Christmas dinners for the elderly.

'Old people are like children, you can see a happy smile on their face from eating a piece of chicken,' Cheung said. 'You may only do something little for them but they remember it in their hearts. I remember an old man came with his grandson to thank me after I gave him a mooncake.'

The handout of noodles echoes similar generosity shown by a congee stall at Oi Man Estate, Ho Man Tin, two years ago when it served free breakfast for the elderly every day.

Cheung said they chose to start the handout next month as the weather turned cooler. The 1,200-sq-ft open-air stall is surrounded by pot plants. A wall is covered with pictures of people and Bible verses.

Fish patterns adorn the floor, and handmade ornaments made from recycled material are put up to create what the owners says is a warm and homely feeling.

'We see them [the elderly] gone one by one, leaving the world,' said Cheung's brother Cheung Man-chuen, 52. 'We hope to do something for them while we have a chance.'