Free meals and soccer tickets for needy Hongkongers

Government to team up with restaurants body in campaign to help city's poorest

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 December, 2013, 5:11am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 December, 2013, 5:11am

Free soccer tickets and meals will be offered to needy youngsters and elderly people in a new government campaign to help struggling Hongkongers.

Following the government's "Hong Kong: Our Home" campaign aimed at unifying the city in the face of a widening wealth gap and ongoing political conflicts, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor yesterday announced next year's drive: "Bless Hong Kong".

Lam, who chairs the poverty commission, was speaking on RTHK's Letter to Hong Kong.

Lawmaker Frederick Fung Kin-kee, a member of the commission, said thousands of tickets to see soccer matches over the Lunar New Year holiday would be offered to youngsters from low-income families.

Simon Wong Ka-wo, president of the Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades, said some restaurants would team up with social enterprises to provide dim sum for elderly people in February. "We are not [just] doing this to help the poor; this is [also] an opportunity for the catering sector to be more aware about social issues," Wong said.

Asked if the campaign would give officials a much-needed popularity boost, Wong said: "We haven't thought about this … we just wanted to create a [more caring] social environment."

A government source said the campaign would be spearheaded by the commission's task force on societal engagement, headed by Dr David Wong Yau-kar.

"It was designed for the government, the business sector and the public to work together … there will be different themes and activities," the source added.

It was understood that the campaign would cost about HK$5 million, with HK$3 million coming from the Hong Kong Jockey Club and the rest from the government.