CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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A night with the stars and the cheque book

HONG KONG (SE): A telethon organised by the Friends of Caritas and broadcast live on TVB Jade on the night of June 25 was a smash hit, both in terms of showcasing some of the organisation’s lesser known social services and raising the necessary money to keep them going.

Ko Wing-man, the secretary for Food and Health; Daniel Lui Sui-wah, the chairperson of the 2016 Caritas Charity TV Show; Peter Leung Ming-hym, the deputy chief executive of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Asia); and Chan Ka-kui, the chairperson of Friends of Caritas; together with John Cardinal Tong Hon launched the Caritas Star Studded Charity Show 2016 with a spectacular light display.

The annual fund-raising event serves as a platform for the public to better understand the manifold social services provided by Caritas-Hong Kong in the areas of care for people in their sunset years, as well as education and medical services, and dozens of other programmes designed to bring hope to the marginalised that Caritas has been providing for the past 60 years.

The Caritas Charrette Centre, which operates a programme to help young people between the ages of 10 and 24, who are not coping well with their emotional problems, to release their feelings and frustrations through art; the Gato House Programme, which assists women below the age of 30 to overcome drug addiction with the help of a pet cat; as well as programmes supporting autistic children and working with their parents to help them accept their children’s condition, were featured during an entertaining and educational evening of television.

The Caritas Computer Workshop was also featured as a well-rounded social service that fulfills several community needs at the one time.

Based in an industrial complex near the old Kai Tak Airport, the workshop reconditions old computers, which are then offered to low income families at a price they can afford, as in this day and age, it is difficult for anyone to access government or any other services without using the Internet.

In addition, it recruits young people, who have been in trouble with the law or dropped out of school, and teaches them a viable trade, so they can use their skills at a later stage in building a career in life.

But the unique opportunity that it offers is a philanthropic outlet to the business sector by donating computers that they are replacing, which are often simply discarded, to a useful cause.

In this way it provides an outlet for companies and government offices to make their old computers available to those in the community who need some help by passing them on to the centre.

The warehouse at the Caritas Recycling Project headquarters is full of secondhand computers, television sets and other electronic equipment that it sorts for repair or disposal, depending on their condition. It has proven to be a viable community service that mostly pays its way.

Cardinal Tong appealed for financial support for Caritas, saying the organisation has made a great contribution to life in Hong Kong by helping to create a harmonious society in which people who are struggling to cope with the demands of life can receive a helping hand.

But the entertainment did go on and the stars did shine during the evening in the persons of several well-known artists who performed to the accompaniment of the New Tune Music Association musical group.

 

Sixty-eight hotlines had been installed to receive donations from the public during the two-hour telethon and, together with sponsorship from various sources, the Caritas community support programmes are now over $6.8 million to the good.

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