Hong Kong is a bit too humid to be a winter wonderland, but that's never stopped us before. As the tinsel and the fake snow hits the city's shopfront decor, the South China Morning Post today announces the 12 beneficiaries of this year's Operation Santa Claus. Over the next 12 days we will be highlighting the worthy causes chosen this year and how you can help them to make their Christmas wishes come true. The beneficiaries cover a wide spectrum of our community, everything from young children with a variety of disabilities, to elderly people suffering from Alzheimer's disease and their families. Chow Pui-shan, 10, is just one of the children who will benefit from your donations. She suffers from spinal muscular atrophy and needs 24-hour care. We'll be telling her story. Then there are the disabled children who ride horses, young delinquents who get back on track through boxing and rugby, plus deaf students who would like a better chance at the job market through learning computer skills. Amanda Turnbull, marketing director of the South China Morning Post, said part of the plan for this year was to make it more fun and to work more with younger readers. 'We are constantly trying to improve it and make it more fun and inclusive, not just for our corporate supporters, but also for our regulars and our student readers,' she said. 'We're trying to reach an ever-wider audience of donors and get them involved with more creative and newsworthy events.'' This is the second year that Operation Santa Claus is concentrating on sharing the benefits over a wider number of charities. More than $60 million has been raised in Hong Kong by Operation Santa Claus to help charities pursue their work over the past 16 years, but it's a difficult task to choose those who will benefit each year. 'We always try to work with charities that are smaller, and/or less well known,'' said Ms Turnbull, explaining the selection process. 'Or we deal with subjects that society still finds difficult - mental health, for example.'' Last year $6.5 million was raised in a record-breaking Operation Santa Claus, but Ms Turnbull emphasised that it wasn't just about the money. 'Obviously we'd like to beat last year's total, but frankly our main goal is to leverage the coverage the SCMP and RTHK can bring to bear to promote the recipients and educate the community about their issues,'' she said. The fund-raising campaign, by the Post and co-organiser RTHK, will be launched on November 29 by Operation Santa Claus patron Betty Tung Chiu Hung-ping, wife of Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa. The launch ceremony will be broadcast live on Radio 3. Bryan Curtis, the head of Radio 3, said: 'It's not much fun just writing a cheque. 'What Operation Santa Claus does is get the community to take part in projects. There's this capacity for fun while raising money. 'When we tell the stories of the people who will benefit, we shine a light on those individuals. You get an incredible glimpse into the private lives of these people and some of it will break your heart. 'But when you see what can be achieved through therapy and treatment, you appreciate that there is an incredible urgency to it.' Inquiries about donations for Operation Santa Claus should be made to fund-raiser Anita Ritchie, South China Morning Post, 16th Floor, Somerset House, 979 King's Road, Quarry Bay. Tel: 2250 3185. THE BENEFICIARIES Those who will benefit from Operation Santa Claus: Hong Kong Alzheimer's Disease Association Founded in 1995 to support families of and those suffering from Alzheimer's disease, also known as dementia, which has no known cure. Provides day-care for sufferers and in-home services. One of its main objectives is to promote awareness and early detection of the illness. Breakthrough Youth Crime Prevention Initiative Volunteer organisation uses boxing, rugby and adventure camps to rehabilitate juvenile delinquents. The Children's Institute of Hong Kong The first local school to educate autistic children using a curriculum developed at Columbia University with a one-to-one teacher/student ratio. The Direct Association for the Handicapped Set up to help people with severe disabilities. Activities include vocational training, wheelchair repair and maintenance and free lending of equipment. Enlighten for Epilepsy Provides counselling, training and assistance to epileptics and their families. Services include home visits, education programmes, a hotline and work with paediatric patients. Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy Support group for families suffering from neuromuscular disease. Provides medical equipment, training and therapy. Severe sufferers often require 24-hour care. Richmond Fellowship of Hong Kong Set up 10 years ago, it provides rehabilitation and after-care services for people recovering from mental illness and their families. Riding for the Disabled Aims to teach children with mental and physical disabilities how to ride horses. Boosts children's confidence by introducing them to the outdoors. Riding helps to improve their co-ordination skills and balance. The Spastics Association of Hong Kong Educates and rehabilitates children and adults with disabilities. Operates six pre-school and rehabilitation centres for children with disabilities ranging from the mentally handicapped, the autistic and children with cerebral palsy and spina bifida. Society for the Promotion of Hospice Care Introduced the city's first hospice in the early 1990s. Focuses on educating the public and medical professionals on the benefits of hospices for end-of-life patients and counselling for such patients and their families. It also offers bereavement counselling. Hong Kong Youth Arts Festival Brings art to children, healthy as well as sick and disabled. Organises events - drama and art classes - and brings them into hospitals, schools and family centres. Hong Kong Society for the Deaf Provides services to the deaf and those who are hard of hearing, including vocational training, employment placing, hearing tests, raising money for operations, rehabilitation.