Operation Santa Claus raises record HK$18.8 million
Generous Hongkongers and companies have dug deeper for the yearly fundraiser and the money will benefit 18 charitable organisations
Hongkongers have once again dug deep for the Operation Santa Claus campaign - and helped celebrate its 25th anniversary in style, raising a record-high HK$18.8 million for the needy.
From corporate high fliers to schoolchildren, participants have enjoyed plenty of laughs along the way too - some have even shared the joy face-to-face with campaign beneficiaries.
"Hong Kong has always been an example of caring and generosity. I'm sure we'll always keep this marvellous virtue," said officiating guest Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun at a ceremony to mark the end of the campaign at the Grand Hyatt hotel yesterday.
"Operation Santa Claus is a successful initiative of displaying love. It is our duty to care for others, donate what we can, and even sacrifice what we would have wanted for ourselves."
The campaign is organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK. Post chief executive Robin Hu said it was close to the newspaper's heart: "It is all about doing things right, doing it with love - and accurately. This year's participation was brilliant."
Bryan Curtis, head of English programming at RTHK, said it was a successful combination of different people coming together to raise funds - and the two media organisations telling their stories to inspire donations.
The campaign has raised HK$188 million since inception - through the generous support of corporations, organisations, schools and individuals - and supported 176 charity projects.
It began in 1988, when HK$101,000 was raised for a single charity. The project has expanded each year, raising a record HK$17.5 million last year.
The funds will go to 18 charitable organisations. Each will submit a progress report in July, and another when their sponsored projects end, to the OSC beneficiaries' selection committee.
Many of the campaign's long-term supporters went the extra mile this year to raise even more than in previous years.
Among them was Morgan Stanley, once again the top fundraiser. Its charity bake auction and the dulcet tones of its directors' choir singing Christmas carols raised HK$2.5 million.
The top school fundraiser was the Discovery Mind Kindergarten, which raised HK$150,000 with a sponsored charity walk.
Cathay Pacific won the most creative fundraiser award for a flash mob dance staged by cabin crew which raised HK$20,000.
RTHK director of broadcasting Roy Tang Yun-kwong gave special thanks to community groups that organised the Wing Ding Squash Tournament and Five-a-Side Football Tournament, both of which are long-time donors. The latter event was largely supported by CBRE.