Operation Santa Claus

Bank of East Asia staff let their hair down and give back to those in need

Employees relish a sense of collective achievement while raising about HK$150,000 for Operation Santa Claus

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 January, 2017, 4:27pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 January, 2017, 8:30pm

Staff from the Bank of East Asia swapped their suits and ties for more colourful garments to kick off a variety of charity fundraising activities over the festive period.

For the first time, the bank partnered with Operation Santa Claus (OSC), the annual charity campaign organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK, raising about HK$150,000 for 23 charities in the city.

Events over the course of a week included games, balloon twisting, caricature drawing and sales of sweets and ice cream.

Executive director Adrian Li Man-kiu said supporting the campaign was also part of the bank’s corporate social responsibility programme. “[The programme] focuses on education, social welfare, and the environment,” he said.

­Although the bank already worked with numerous NGOs, OSC enabled it “to reach out to a wider range” of causes it would not otherwise have come into contact with.

General manager and head of human resources Mimi Kam said at first employees seemed ­perplexed when they entered the staff canteen, which had been ­rearranged to host the games.

“However, as the week ­progressed, the atmosphere ­became increasingly boisterous, especially on the last day, which featured team games,” she said.

She added the most memorable part of the programme was the final day, when departments competed against each other.

Li said OSC enabled staff to support vulnerable and underresourced members of the community. “By holding a series of activities at our bank, we helped foster the spirit of giving and ­created a greater sense of collective achievement among our colleagues,” he said.

The event also helped to strengthen staff spirit, as employees played games together or “cheered each other on”.

Founded in 1988, OSC has raised more than HK$250 million to help 237 local charities, many of which support young people.

There are five new beneficiaries: FHL Adventure Education Centre, Yes We Do Foundation, Nature Conservancy, the ­Outward Bound Trust of Hong Kong and Hong Kong ­University of Science and Technology.

Using donations from OSC, Nature Conservancy last year trained secondary school ­children about aspects of conservation in their community.

Consequently, as part of ­sustainability promotion activities, gardens for growing food are being introduced at campuses across Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, HK$900,000 of OSC funding will help the Yes We Do Foundation stage more ­summer camps, which empower hundreds of local and overseas educated youngsters teach ­summer classes to children in underdeveloped areas of China.

Last year the programme sent more than 50 volunteers to teach summer classes in nine schools in Hebei, Anhui, Chongqing, ­Sichuan and Shanxi.