Operation Santa Claus
Jointly organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK since 1988, Operation Santa Claus is one of the largest charitable donation drives in Hong Kong. By November 2012, It had raised more than HK$170 million for over 150 charitable projects.
Operation Santa helps care home residents go yum cha
New bespoke van enables elderly to reach medical facilities - and have fun
Elderly people living in a Sai Kung care home enjoy the fresh air and natural environment, but travelling anywhere can be a major problem since many of them are wheelchair-bound.
Many residents of the Helping Hand Father Sean Burke Care Home long for an outing, or yum cha, with family, and almost all of them must visit a doctor at least a few times a month.
The home currently houses 212 elderly people, more than half over the age of 90. It has been renting vans for them from a private company, but the service is unreliable and expensive.
Now Operation Santa Claus is raising funds so that the care home can buy a van with a wheelchair lift and safety features for transporting frail elders.
"It would be a big help, taking us to medical appointments," said home resident Chan Kam-heung, 79. She fell and broke her leg five years ago and needs regular check-ups at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sha Tin.
Another resident, Woo Ho, 85, said it is difficult for residents even to visit a clinic in nearby Ma On Shan, when they catch the flu, because their wheelchairs cannot go inside a taxi. "It's a remote place here, and transport is inconvenient," Woo said.
Helping Hand moved three of its elderly homes from urban areas to the Sai Kung site last year, next to their elderly people's holiday centre. The new premises - at the Cheung Muk Tau integrated service complex - has more outdoor space, said Chris Lee Man-wai, who heads it. The new van will be mainly for taking the residents to medical sessions, but it will also take them on outings when it's available, said Lee. When asked where she would like to go with the new van, Woo said with a big smile, "I would like to go for yum cha. Then I will be really happy."