One of the kindest things that one can do for the elderly is listen to their life stories.
Around 30 staff members from law firm Deacons did just that on a chilly winter morning last Saturday, when they visited 10 senior citizens on Lamma Island, bearing gifts of Chinese New Year lanterns and scarves.
The volunteers were also accompanied by children from Hans Andersen Club Lamma Island Centre, who read tales from the Chinese storybook Piglet Can't Fly.
Deacons is the city's oldest and largest independent law firm and a major donor of the 2012 Operation Santa Claus fundraising drive, co-organised by South China Morning Post and RTHK, raising money for 18 charities, including the Hans Andersen Club.
The volunteers, who included lawyers and general staff, split into teams to visit the elderly, scattered in different villages. Lilian Chiang Sui-fook, senior partner of Deacons, brought along her daughter and pet dog to visit 95-year-old Tso Shun-tsing, who lives alone.
Tso was delighted to have a lawyer in her home and told Chiang that she listens to the radio every day to learn English. She showed Chiang a newspaper clipping of her talking to the former colonial governor Chris Patten a decade ago, during one of his visits to Lamma Island.
Nine-year-old Katey Wu Kei-yan, from the Hans Andersen Club, read aloud from the storybook to Tso.
The other volunteers used a puppet to act out the tale.
Involvement in charity work is encouraged within the firm.
"Deacons' success since its founding in 1851 has been built on serving our community here in Hong Kong, so it's important we give back to local charities," said Chiang.
Last year, among many initiatives, Deacons co-organised a riding camp for mentally handicapped children, with the Riding for the Disabled Association, and partnered with the Hong Kong Down Syndrome Association to run three art workshops.
Deacons' lawyers also perform pro-bono work to non-profit organisations.