City Weekend

Hong Kong children learn sweet lessons of giving at Christmas Marshmallow Charity Sale for Salvation Army

Some 1,000 families turn out for charity sale spanning four weekends of courage, caring and candy

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 December, 2016, 9:02am
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 December, 2016, 10:32am

Lee Ho-ching first sang Christmas carols and danced at the Christmas Marshmallow Charity Sale. Undeterred by the strong winds of December, the five year old then busily went about collecting donations from passers-by for the Salvation Army.

“I have sold nine boxes of marshmallows! And each raised about HK$20 to help people in need,” he cheerfully said.

Although he fell ill after standing in the wind for two hours in Tai Wai where he and his mother sold the marshmallows, he said he was happy the money he raised could help people during the holiday.

Besides Lee, children from about 1,000 local families also participated in the Salvation Army’s third annual charity sale across the city. The street sale spanned four consecutive weekends from November 26 to December 18.

Chow Pui-man, Lee’s mother, was by Lee’s side to encourage him throughout the sale outside the MTR exit. She said it was important for her son to experience “the joy of helping others”.

It is more blessed to give than to receive. This experience also helps my son develop a character of caring
Chow Pui-man

“It is more blessed to give than to receive,” she said. “This experience also helps my son develop a character of caring.”

But she said the charity sale was not without challenge, with a sense of indifference strong among most pedestrians, which tended to leave the children frustrated.

“But there were some people who stopped for the children and cheered them on with their endeavour,” she said. “Those moments are rewarding. A little encouragement can go a long way for children.”

Kwok Wing-suet, a senior communications officer at the Salvation Army, said the activity helped children pluck up courage to meet people and stay resilient in the face of adversity.

It is a blessing to see the children come in timid but leave with satisfaction and courage
Kwok Wing-suet, Salvation Army

“The children who volunteered for this activity are predominantly in kindergarten,” she said. “It is a blessing to see the children come in timid but leave with satisfaction and courage.”

She said she was extremely touched when she saw a four-year-old girl come from hiding behind her mum to chanting slogans to promote the candy boxes to passers-by.

“She was at first very embarrassed when people did not buy her marshmallows, and asked her mum to cradle her,” Kwok said. “So we suggested she could simply stand by the box and say thank you if people decided to buy.”

Then, after a few generous individuals finally stopped to buy marshmallows from her and cheered her on, the little girl regained confidence and “both her mother and her were overjoyed by how she overcame the hurdle”.

Lee’s mother said the Christmas sale had brought her closer to her son, and Lee said he thought his mother was very generous and a good example to learn from. They looked forward to joining future street sales.