Gift drive for needy off to mixed start

Colleen Lee

Social service groups collecting surplus Lunar New Year gifts for the disadvantaged have had a mixed response.

Selwyn Yu Ka-lung, assistant executive director of Against Elderly Abuse, said they were disappointed as they had received about 300 donations so far compared with around 1,500 last year.

However, Wong Hung-sang, service manager of the People's Food Bank run by St James' Settlement, said the response was overwhelming, with about 1,400 gifts donated.

Mr Wong said they had received more than 6,000 donations last year and expected a similar number this year. He hoped the project - which is being held for the second consecutive year - could benefit about 8,000 low-income people, especially children from poor families.

'Biscuits and chocolates are the keys that open the doors of those in need who always hide in their homes,' the veteran social worker said. 'They will not seek help unless we reach out to them.'

Against Elderly Abuse is hoping to collect 5,000 boxes or packs of biscuits, egg rolls, chocolates, noodles and sweets mostly in Sham Shui Po, Kwun Tong, Kowloon City and Chai Wan.

The organisation's campaign will end on Sunday and the People's Food Bank's drive on March 17.

Anyone interesting in making a donation can call Against Elderly Abuse on 8200 1711 or People's Food Bank on 2975 8777.

Meanwhile, Friends of the Earth is collecting metal and plastic gift boxes in more than 200 housing estates across the city until March 19 as part of its recycling campaign.