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"Bless Hong Kong" Launching Ceremony held to mobilise various sectors to participate in poverty alleviation (with photos/video)
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     The Societal Engagement Task Force (SETF) of the Commission on Poverty (CoP) today (February 6) held the "Bless Hong Kong" Launching Ceremony at Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai. The unveiling of the six-month-long Campaign was witnessed by representatives of various supporting organisations. By actively mobilising various sectors to participate in poverty alleviation work, the Campaign aims to drive home the message of "helping those in need, is a blessing in deed".

     The Launching Ceremony was jointly officiated by the Chief Secretary for Administration and Chairman of the CoP, Mrs Carrie Lam; the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung; the SETF Chairperson, Dr David Wong; the SETF Vice-chairperson, Miss Leonie Ki; the Steward of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, Mr Anthony Chow; and the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service, Mr Chua Hoi-wai.

     Delivering his welcome speech, Dr Wong said, "The business sector, professional bodies and other sectors have been working closely with the Government in furthering poverty alleviation work. The SETF of the CoP provides a platform to enhance tripartite collaboration among community organisations, the business sector and the Government to broaden and deepen efforts on poverty alleviation." He thanked the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust for its $3 million donation and the Hong Kong Council of Social Service for its assistance in co-ordinating some of the activities. He also expressed gratitude to various business associations and sectors for their full support of the "Bless Hong Kong" Campaign.

     Mrs Lam said that the SETF under the CoP has been tasked with promoting tripartite collaboration among community organisations, the business sector and the Government to promote poverty alleviation efforts since its establishment. The "Bless Hong Kong" Campaign is one of the priority projects of the SETF, focusing on helping the underprivileged and further enhancing collaboration from various fronts.

     The "Bless Hong Kong" Campaign has so far received an encouraging response, with around 400 poverty alleviation activities from over 100 organisations of various sectors in support of the Campaign. Apart from large corporations and social welfare organisations, small and medium-sized enterprises, professional organisations and district bodies are also making their presence felt.

     Miss Ki said that different organisations have already rendered their strong support for the Campaign. For example, Cathay Pacific Airways invited more than 160 members of single-parent families to participate in the Cathay Pacific Spirit of Hong Kong Community Flight on January 26. The Citizen Athletic Association also gave away 8 000 tickets for the Lunar New Year Cup to the disadvantaged and low-income persons to enable them to enjoy the football matches held on January 31 and February 3. Apart from mobilising various sectors to organise their own activities, the "Bless Hong Kong" Campaign will also hold thematic monthly events, targeting different underprivileged groups. Furthermore, the Campaign will offer the "Bless HK Bus" service, providing an open-top bus free of charge for welfare organisations to take the underprivileged to different districts in Hong Kong to join the activities being held especially for them. Miss Ki also launched the dedicated website of "Bless Hong Kong", which provides details of around 400 poverty alleviation events, at www.blesshongkong.hk.@

     After watching a drum performance by Buddhist Wong Wan Tin College and a lion dance by the School of Hip Hop of Youth Outreach, the officiating guests, together with members of the CoP and the SETF, took the "Bless HK Bus" to Tsuen Wan to extend Lunar New Year greetings to over 130 elderly people and enjoyed free dim sum with them. This was the first "Food and Beverage Party" organised by the four major catering bodies in support of the "Bless Hong Kong" Campaign. They are the Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades, the Association for Hong Kong Catering Services Management Ltd, the Institution of Dining Art and the Association of Restaurant Managers. During the Campaign period, more than 80 restaurants under the four catering bodies will provide free food and beverage and special offers to elderly people, low-income families and the needy.

     After receiving handicrafts from the representatives of the elderly, the party led by the Chief Secretary for Administration distributed gift packs filled with healthy food to the elderly participants.

     Mrs Lam and other guests then went to a rehabilitation centre in Kwai Chung to visit some 120 service users, sending their Lunar New Year greetings and giving out scarves and gift packs.

     Before the end of the visit, Mrs Lam said she looked forward to seeing more enthusiastic groups and organisations support the "Bless Hong Kong" Campaign to convey their blessings to the grass roots and the underprivileged to demonstrate the spirit of giving.

Ends/Thursday, February 6, 2014
Issued at HKT 20:55

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