Jardine Matheson gets the campaign really rolling by donating a 10-tonne truck to the Hong Chi Association One of Hong Kong's leading companies has played a big hand in getting Operation Santa Claus rolling, by donating a 10-tonne truck to help the mentally handicapped. The Jardine Matheson Group stepped in to help out the Hong Chi Association - one of the operation's 12 beneficiaries - by granting its wish soon after the annual appeal was launched last Thursday. The Hong Chi Association, which gives jobs to the mentally handicapped, had appealed for a truck to boost business for its sheltered workshops. Association chairman John Budge said it felt like Christmas had come early when he heard of the Jardine Matheson Group's donation. 'We were always optimistic that Operation Santa Claus would grant our wish, but for it to happen as early as this is great,' he said. 'It was a wonderful piece of generosity from Jardines and a great start to the Operation Santa Claus Appeal. This truck really will make a difference.' Mr Budge received the keys for the truck from Jardines' Neil McNamara, a member of the steering committee for Mindset - the company's own charity for the mentally handicapped. Mr McNamara said Hong Chi had been chosen from the list of beneficiaries because of Mindset, set up in June last year by the Jardine Matheson Group. The group includes Hongkong Land, Dairy Farm, Mandarin Oriental and Jardine Motors. The charity channels the group's fundraising and community efforts into the area of mental health. It includes an ambassador programme - a scheme involving a team of young Jardines executives who use their skills to benefit the community and increase understanding of mental health. 'Over the years, Jardines has donated to lots of different places but it never seemed to add up to anything,' said Mr McNamara about Mindset. 'We decided that we should find a focus for it, somewhere we could make a difference. 'We chose mental health because of the stigma attached to it in Hong Kong and the fact that it is an area that is often ignored.' Mr McNamara said the work of the Hong Chi Association was in tune with the aims of Mindset. 'We were very comfortable about making this donation to the association. Employment is hard enough to find in Hong Kong as it is,' he said, adding that the group was looking at a scheme to employ the mentally handicapped within its companies. 'The group employs 40,000 people - that's 40,000 families. If we can send a positive message about the mentally handicapped internally then we will be reaching a large proportion of Hong Kong's population.' The truck will be used at the association's Jockey Club Hong Chi Chui sheltered workshop in Sha Tin to reduce operational costs, improve efficiency and enable workers to offer a more competitive service. Mr Budge said it would also increase the job training opportunities for the mentally handicapped employed in the workshop.