Operation Santa Claus

Kowloon Shangri-La gives neediest mouths a taste of fine hotel dining

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 December, 2012, 3:40am

Hotel food, once the preserve of the well-off and middle classes, is now reaching needy Hongkongers thanks to programmes that share leftover food.

The Kowloon Shangri-La is among the many hotels that have formed partnerships with Foodlink Foundation, which distributes high-quality leftover food to shelters and centres serving the elderly, homeless and poor.

"It's great that hotels are helping the needy instead of throwing all that good food away," said Shangri-La general manager Timothy Wright.

For two years, the hotel has been a food donor to Foodlink, one of Operation Santa Claus' (OSC) 18 beneficiaries this year.

It is also raising funds for OSC this year - for the 10th year - through a month-long charity sale of gingerbread biscuits and glass handicrafts at the hotel. The angel-shaped gingerbread biscuits are adorned with a short personalised message, written in icing, by the hotel's pastry chef.

The hotel's initiative began on Monday, with a Christmas tree lighting ceremony and children from the Singapore International School singing Gloria in excelsis Deo in the lobby.

The Kowloon Shangri-La has been supporting OSC all these years because donations go to the most needy in the community, who are selected with much care, said Wright. "It's surprising how many people need help in this city."

He was particularly inspired by a visit to Chungking Mansions in Tsim Sha Tsui, two months ago, with Foodlink. Student volunteers from an international school prepared and distributed the food during that visit.

"The number of people dependent on the food is astounding," he said.

Kowloon Shangri-La is also sponsoring OSC's Santa on the Beach - a games day at Repulse Bay this Saturday. It has provided items for Santa's Silver Auction - another OSC event that includes a lunch with film star Jackie Chan and a private pasta-making session with a hotel chef.