Hong Kong people are well known for their generosity. From donations for local charities to disaster relief overseas, the community never fails to respond when help is needed. There is no shortage of examples to show our culture of giving and care is among the best in the world.
Adding to the long list of records is the success of Operation Santa Claus, the annual charity event co-organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK. As in the past, contributors have opened their hearts for those in need. In a matter of weeks, a record HK$21,098,533 has been raised, up from the HK$18.78 million in 2012. The campaign has come a long way since 1988, the year it was launched, when HK$100,000 was collected. Since then, the charity drive has channeled HK$209 million from individuals, groups and corporate donors to 194 projects of different natures.
We express our gratitude to those who have dug deep into their pockets. Over the years, our economy has experienced ups and downs, but our donors have stood ready to help regardless of the economic situation. Come rain or shine, the call of the needy has never gone unanswered. Credit, too, to the participants in various fund-raising activities. Their innovative ideas and enthusiasm have helped define our generous culture, something of which we can be truly proud.
Our city has a reputable charity regime. What sets Operation Santa Claus apart is that it gives a helping hand to lesser-known groups through a network of corporate and individual donors. Not only are the charities given crucial exposure to advance meaningful causes, they are also given the funding to do so. The 18 projects in last year's appeal will benefit the underprivileged from a broad social spectrum.
Upholding our reputation as a charitable society is only part of the commitment. The ultimate goal is to help the less fortunate in society. As the gap between the rich and the poor is widening, more needs to be done to narrow the divide. This can be achieved with wider public support for charities.