Time has come to get giving again as Operation Santa Claus begins
Operation Santa Claus launches 25th annual charity appeal, after record HK$17.5 million in 2011
It may be too early to be singing Santa Claus is Coming to Town, but Operation Santa Claus is already in town, and it's time for giving and sharing.
The annual charity appeal, one of the largest in the city, is celebrating its 25th anniversary and was officially launched last night at a gala dinner in Admiralty.
Jointly organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK, Operation Santa Claus (OSC) has been sharing Christmas goodwill since 1988, and the campaign has raised a total of more than HK$170 million for more than 150 charitable projects.
This year, OSC will raise funds for 18 organisations. Their appeals for money to help specific projects were chosen from around 100 proposals by a panel of judges from the Post, RTHK and donor representatives.
Children with rare diseases and victims of domestic violence victims will be among those to benefit this year.
Last night marked the start of a cycle of festive fundraising. Special events to celebrate the OSC's silver jubilee this year include a Santa on the Beach sports day and Santa's Silver Auction.
Lunch with Jackie Chan, a private performance by the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra's concertmaster and cellist and a fun drawing by the Post's very own cartoonist Harry Harrison are all up for grabs in the auction, organised by RTHK Radio 3. Bidding, via the RTHK website, opens this week and closes on December 17.
The fundraising beach sports day will take place at Repulse Bay on December 8 and will feature a host of corporate teams.
Last night's launch took place on the roof garden of the Asia Society and was attended by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's wife, Regina Leung Tong Ching-yee, the Post's chief executive officer, Robin Hu, and editor-in-chief, Wang Xiangwei, as well as RTHK's director of broadcasting Roy Tang Yun-kwong, and Cantopop star Ivana Wong.
The evening also saw the launch of a new silver OSC logo.
When asked whether he expected economic woes to hurt donations, Tang said he remained optimistic.
"I find that the rate of giving in Hong Kong runs in reverse to the economic situation," he said.
He praised the news reports telling how donations have been spent and where they are headed.
"Without the coverage, many heart-warming stories would never be told."
Regina Leung said the annual appeal reminded everyone of their role in helping others.
And Hu said: "OSC is not just about beneficiaries receiving money, it's also about donors giving their love to the community."
Each selected charity undergoes stringent due diligence, managed by the Hong Kong Council of Social Service.
Last year, HK$17.5 million was raised for the charity drive, setting a new record.
Children and youth
Children's Heart Foundation
The foundation provides a temporary hostel service with counselling support for parents of children who need to undergo heart surgery at Queen Mary Hospital in Pok Fu Lam. The home-like environment of the hostel aims to alleviate parents' stress and worries.
Teach Unlimited Foundation
University graduates serve as programme mentors to deliver educational support to disadvantaged pupils in under-resourced schools. The mentors work closely with the schools to help pupils improve their self-esteem and self-confidence.
Hans Andersen Club
The club runs a training programme to equip lower-income parents who are new immigrants to become storytellers, and to strengthen the storytelling skills of kindergarten teachers. Children at under-resourced kindergartens benefit from the programme.
A buddy reading programme is offered to children living in small-group homes. Young volunteers are trained as story readers to share stories with children to cultivate reading habits. The English-language storybooks are later contributed to the libraries.
Playright Children's Play Association
Hospital play specialists conduct workshops for children who are under hospital treatment, with the aim of helping them cope positively with the stress arising from their illness and hospital stay.
The OSC funds will help renovate a worn-out temporary shelter for exploited or unfairly treated foreign domestic workers, and provide basic necessities including food and personal grooming items for shelter residents.
Christian Family Service Centre
The centre holds therapy groups for victims of domestic violence, aiming to reduce their emotional burden and empower them to tackle new challenges.
The OSC funds will support a "Strengthening Family Connections Programme" that seeks to enhance family support and rebuild trust between drug users in rehabilitation and their families, in an attempt to manage challenges that arise during the critical period of fighting against drug addiction.
The OSC funds will help buy a new van with a wheelchair lift and safety features that will be used to transport frail elderly people at the Father Sean Burke Care Home.
The foundation sends out two vans to collect and deliver surplus food from hotels and food and beverage outlets to people who need it most, including street sleepers, asylum seekers and elderly residents in the New Territories.
Pupils from lower-income families receive quality nature education through multimedia technology and outdoor learning. The fund also supports teachers' training.
Hong Kong Red Cross Hospital Schools
The OSC funds will equip hospital schools with notebook computers and iPads for young patients to continue schooling and be motivated to learn while staying in hospital.
Joshua Hellmann Foundation for Orphan Disease
The foundation seeks to relieve stress and strengthen the emotional health of orphan disease patients and their families through expressive art therapy workshops. The programme also sponsors diagnostic tests for suspected cases.
Lions Kidney Educational Centre & Research Foundation
The OSC funds will help buy two new haemodialysis machines for a Sham Shui Po renal dialysis centre.
Little Life Warrior Society
An exchange camp will be held for child cancer patients, survivors and their families, allowing them to share their experiences, bond and provide mutual support.
Operation Smile - China Medical Mission
Three hundred operations for children, to be performed by trusted volunteer doctors and nurses, are lined up for mission trips to rural areas of northern, central, southern and southwestern provinces.
The Society for Aids Care
A counselling service helps people living with HIV/Aids, their partners, and carers who are in crisis. The programme focuses on alleviating the suffering of individuals, and seeks to rebuild family harmony through counselling by social workers.
Families of S.M.A. Charitable Trust
The trust will buy life-saving medical equipment and wheelchairs for severely disabled patients of spinal muscular atrophy.
HOW YOU CAN GIVE
● Donate online with your credit card at osc.scmp.com
● Donate at an ATM or at any HSBC branch (account no: 502-676299-001 for SCMP Charities Ltd – Operation Santa Claus)
● You can donate with a cheque payable to “SCMP Charities Ltd – Operation Santa Claus” and post it to Operation Santa Claus, Morning Post Centre, 22 Dai Fat Street, Tai Po Industrial Estate, New Territories
● Donations of HK$100 or more are tax-deductible. If you would like a tax receipt please send the completed donation form and original bank receipt, with your name, address and phone number, to the above address. Please call 2680 8159 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with any inquiries, or visit osc.scmp.com
This story was updated on Nov. 21, 2012 to correct Operation Santa Claus 2011 donation figure in last paragraph to HK$17.5 million.