Hunger inexcusable amid such wealth

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 September, 2011, 12:00am


We live in a wealthy city. Although, the gap between rich and poor has increasingly been a cause of concern, it came as a shock last month to learn that some families in Hong Kong cannot afford to feed their children properly.

An Oxfam report revealed the seriousness of the problem. The children of one in six low-income families often went hungry, their study found. Families in this position tended to survive on junk food, leftovers or products which are close to their sell-by date. And as food prices rise, their daily struggle has become even tougher. The demand for food assistance is expected to have risen by around 10 per cent by the end of the year. These families are in need of help.

Food banks, such as those run by St James' Settlement and the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals are providing a much-needed service by feeding those in need. Their volunteers work hard to ensure people do not go hungry.

This newspaper's Heart of Hong Kong Relief Fund has raised more than a million dollars over the last month to support the two food banks. Once again, Hong Kong people have shown their generosity and care for people not as fortunate as themselves. The money will be well spent, enabling the food banks to make more fresh food available. It is also hoped that more volunteers will come forward to work at the food banks and more vendors will participate. The more people who can benefit from the service, the better.

The wealth gap is a problem that the government must tackle, with the community's help. There are many pressing issues, from housing to health care. But the starting point must be ensuring people have enough food to eat. In a city as affluent as ours, with its luxury shopping malls and glitzy restaurants, there is no reason why children should go hungry.