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A man in China has set up a coin box for the destitute offering handouts of 5 yuan (75 US cents) per person. Photo: SCMP Artwork

China coronavirus charity: shop owner leaves coin box on street for needy passers-by to take as he believes ‘trust is a joy’

  • Coronavirus lockdowns have hit people in China hard economically, but some are trying to give back where they can
  • A jewellery store owner had the idea of setting up a donation box to help passers-by outside his shop in China

A goodwill coin box outside a jewellery shop that offers a few yuan to help passers-by in need has delighted mainland Chinese social media.

Liu Benfu, a 31-year-old jewellery store owner from the city of Chengdu, Sichuan province, southwestern China, had the novel idea of setting up the box and filling it with hundreds of coins and then offering them to anyone in need.

“Up to five yuan (75 US cents) per person,” Liu wrote next to two smiley faces on a sign next to the box. And at the bottom of the sign he wrote: “Trust is a joy.”

Liu opened his jewellery shop late last year, but soon there was a local Covid-19 epidemic in Sichuan province at the start of this year, hitting people hard financially.
Sometimes a few dollars can mean a lot to someone in need, and I want to make people who are struggling and alone feel warm
Liu Benfu

According to the latest data released by the local government, there were 147 cases recorded in Sichuan from May 5 to May 18.

Seeing how many people were experiencing financial difficulty, Liu hit upon the idea of placing the coin box in front of his store. Liu said it stemmed from his previous experience working in Guangdong province, southeastern China, when he was about 18 years old and experiencing financial hardship himself, reported the Xinhua News Agency.

“I slept in train stations and bus stations during the most difficult times,” Liu recalled. “At the time, I often had to go hungry because I didn’t have enough money to eat, and I thought how nice it would be if I had one or two yuan at that moment.”

‘Up to five yuan (75 US cents) per person’, reads the sign next to the box outside Liu’s store. Photo: Weixin

Liu said that even though his store has yet to turn a profit, he believes in helping others who are struggling at the moment.

“Sometimes a few dollars can mean a lot to someone in need, and I want to make people who are struggling and alone feel warm.”

According to Liu, after he placed the box outside his store, more people came to take pictures than to take coins. Some people, inspired by Liu’s idea, have been placing money into the box.

“It’s a good thing because it shows that people care,” Liu said.

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Many people praised Liu after photos of the goodwill money box were posted online.

“Five yuan can be used to buy a bottle of water, a loaf of bread, and, in this case, the hope of living!” one person commented.

“He wants to hold an umbrella for others because he got wet in the rain once,” wrote another.