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.
Hotel leftovers don't go to waste any more
Aged and homeless receive meals that would otherwise have been thrown out as mother-daughter duo collect leftovers
It started as a one-woman operation trying to alleviate hunger in a city where plenty of food gets thrown out.
Vanessa Hwang was at a hotel buffet lunch about a decade ago, and couldn't bear to see so much food being wasted. With the hotel's permission, she packed away untouched leftovers and gave them to homeless people.
Now the operation has developed into the Foodlink Foundation charity, which collects and delivers 4,700 meals every week.
"Some of the things we throw away would be so important for others," said Robin Hwang, the foundation's fundraising director and Vanessa's daughter.
Robin Hwang remembers one elderly man who used to survive on nothing but bread and an apple a day. "This level of poverty sounds so foreign in our city," she said. "Many don't know about it."
Foodlink Foundation has proved to donors and recipients that it has a workable model for redistributing food that would otherwise be wasted.
It collects high-quality surplus food from hotels and other food outlets, and uses refrigerated vans to take transport them.
When the foundation was set up in 2009 it had just three donors and three beneficiaries. Now it has expanded to 51 donors - more than half of them being Hong Kong's famous hotels - and 38 beneficiaries. But it is still run by just four full-time staff.
They recently bought a third delivery van, and Operation Santa Claus (OSC), a charitable campaign jointly organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK, is raising funds to cover its operating costs. The foundation is also selling advertising space on the van to help fund running costs.
Saint Barnabas' Society and Home in Western District receives meals from the foundation twice a day, six days a week, and serves them to homeless and elderly people.
"They feel that they are loved and not a neglected group. They are thankful," said the home's interim executive director, Maranda Li Fung-ying.
HOW YOU CAN GIVE
- Donate online by 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 mail 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 us online at osc.scmp.com