Sustaining a charitable course for a quarter of a century is no easy task. Raising record donations in the current economic situation is an even bigger achievement. The HK$18.8 million raised by Operation Santa Claus over the past two months is, therefore, outstanding.
As we wrap up the 25th anniversary, our gratitude goes to the corporate executives, schoolchildren and individual donors who have made the campaign a success. It is testimony to Hong Kong's culture of generosity, something of which we can be truly proud.
The charity co-organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK became a signature event after the two formally teamed up in 1988. The record high donation this year, up from the HK$17.5 million last year, will go a long way towards help 18 local and mainland charity groups. A total of HK$188 million has been raised for 176 charities over the past 25 years.
Raising funds for charity in difficult economic times is a challenge. Our economic growth is still better than many places in the world, but the uncertainties ahead would understandably prompt donors to think twice before loosening their purse strings. Yet, the results prove that a sluggish economy is no obstacle. The calls of the needy never go unanswered. The people are always ready to give.
Helping those in need is only part of the commitment. The organisations will each have to hand in a progress report in July and another report after the end of their sponsored projects to the Operation's beneficiaries' selection committee. Our socially responsible corporate and individual citizens can rest assured that their money will be used on worthy causes.
Charity is one of the best ways to bring us closer together as a community. The care and love we show helps foster social bonding. While our wealth gap is widening, our commitment to narrowing the difference is also growing stronger. But our achievement can be sustained only with concerted public effort. Let's build on our success and give with even greater generosity in future.