Give the gift of love

Give the gift of love

Students can photograph Santa at school to help the annual charity event

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the annual charity campaign Operation Santa Claus (OSC), organised by the South China Morning Post and Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK). Since 1988, OSC has raised more than HK$170 million to help over 158 charities.

Regina Leung Tong Ching-yee, wife of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, hosted the opening ceremony of this year's campaign last night, at the Asia Society, in Admiralty.

This year, for the first time, the OSC is running a photo competition. Students are being encouraged to take photos of Santa at school and then upload the image on the OSC Facebook "Santa Photo Contest" page.

Participants can then invite friends to "like" the photo: the more "likes" they get, the more money sponsors will donate.

This year's OSC campaign will help 18 groups in six distinct areas - the community, children and youth, elderly, environment, medical and physical disabilities.

Funds will be used to pay for the running and upkeep of the Children's Heart Foundation's House of Heart. The hostel, next to Queen Mary Hospital, provides temporary accommodation and counselling for parents or carers of children in hospital with heart problems.

The Hans Andersen Club's Reading Freshmen Project will receive support to help train new, low-income immigrant parents and kindergarten teachers to be storytellers to children.

Money will also help to buy notebooks and iPads for child patients at Hong Kong Red Cross Hospital Schools, so they can continue their studies.

OSC is also backing the Joshua Hellmann Foundation for Orphan Diseases, which offers support to sufferers under the age of 19. Funds will pay for diagnostic testing of suspected patients and provide stress-releasing therapy for sufferers.

Funds will go to Kids4Kids to give underprivileged local children living in small group homes English story books as Christmas gifts. The charity also sends student volunteers to act as the children's "reading buddies".

The campaign will help Little Life Warrior Society, which runs an exchange camp offering mutual support for mainland and Hong Kong cancer patients and their families.

OSC will help Operation Smile - China Medical Mission carry out surgery to correct facial deformities on 300 mainland children. Money will also support Playright Children's Play Association's "Hospital Play for Children" scheme, which promotes play by young patients to ease pain and stress.

Another beneficiary is the Teach Unlimited Foundation, which helps disadvantaged students by providing mentoring support and helping them to learn English.

OSC is also supporting Operation Dawn's Strengthen Family Connections programme, which helps the rehabilitation of drug abusers, including rebuilding trust with their families.

Another charity receiving help is The Society for Aids Care, which provides mental health care to Aids patients and their families in Hong Kong.

World Wide Fund for Nature Hong Kong hopes to take students from low-income families on an IT and nature education programme, thanks to OSC funding.

OSC will help the Foodlink Foundation buy a new van to collect and deliver surplus food from hotels and restaurants to local charities.

Funding will also help Christian Action renovate a shelter used by domestic helpers and migrant workers who have been exploited by employers.

The Christian Family Service Centre will be given financial support for its "Cook for Hope" therapy project, which helps hundreds of victims of domestic violence.

The OCS is supporting Helping Hand, which hopes to buy a new car with a wheelchair lift for use by the elderly.

Funds will also help to replace two blood dialysis machines used by patients at the Lions Kidney Educational Centre and Research Foundation, in Sham Shui Po.

The campaign will provide money to the Families of SMA Charitable Trust to buy life-saving medical equipment and a stock of wheelchairs for use by severely disabled SMA patients with spinal muscular atrophy. This inherited disease attacks the nerve cells controlling muscles and leads to muscle wasting.

Donation information

- Make cheques payable to "SCMP Charities Ltd - Operation Santa Claus", and send them to: Operation Santa Claus, Morning Post Centre, 22 Dai Fat Street, Tai Po Industrial Estate, New Territories.

- Deposit money into the OSC's HSBC account: 502-676299-001. Donations of HK$100 or more are tax-deductible. For a tax receipt, send the completed donation form and original bank receipt to the above address.

For inquiries, call 2680 8159 or send an e-mail to osc@scmp.com

Full details about the OSC campaign can be found on Facebook or their website

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