Bankers come out swinging for charity minigolf event
Hallways of Bank of America Merrill Lynch are turned into a nine-hole course by staff in drive to raise money for those in need this Christmas
Corridors in the offices of Bank of America Merrill Lynch were turned into indoor putting greens yesterday as staff put their golfing skills to the test to raise money for Operation Santa Claus.
Twenty-seven employees used everything from stacks of paper to cardboard boxes to parts of a printer to build nine holes on two floors of the building.
"Every year the game gets more elaborate, more tricky - this year they've even made water holes. Some of them are ridiculously difficult," said John O'Toole, the bank's Asia-Pacific general counsel. "The most important thing is that the employees are having fun and are raising funds and awareness for Operation Santa Claus charities."
Jointly organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK, Operation Santa aims to raise money for 18 charitable projects this Christmas that will help a range of people in need - from children with special educational needs to foreign domestic helpers who have suffered abuse.
The minigolf event is in its 10th year and the bank has been supporting Operation Santa Claus for 16 years. "Operation Santa has become a tradition in the company. What I like about it is that we have a tremendous amount of employee involvement," O'Toole said.
Donations come from participants who seek sponsorship from friends and family. Operation Santa badges were also on sale in the office this year, proceeds from which go to the charities. In creating the course, employees were asked to base their ideas on the company's three main focuses in corporate social responsibility - the environment, investment in the community, and arts and culture.
In the environment section there were three types of landscape represented - the rainforest, the desert, and the polar regions, featuring small fans that threatened to blow golfers' balls off course.
One of the holes in the culture section was designed to look like the entrance to a museum, while the community section sported a Christmas tree with tags bearing the names of charities the company supports.
"They are supposed to get the ball in [the hole] in three shots, but sometimes it's so difficult it takes 10," O'Toole said.
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)
- Send a cheque payable to "SCMP Charities Ltd - Operation Santa Claus". 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 require a tax receipt, please send the completed donation form and original bank receipt, with your name, address and telephone number, to the previously mentioned address. Please call 2680 8159 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with any inquiries, or visit us online at osc.scmp.com