'We can tackle poverty one mooncake at a time'

'We can tackle poverty one mooncake at a time'

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A restaurant owner gave out mooncakes to the needy during the Mid-Autumn Festival.
A restaurant owner gave out mooncakes to the needy during the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Photo: K.Y. Cheng/SCMP
It is, indeed, the best of times, yet the worst of times: we live in a world of prosperity never seen before, yet there's poverty; we live in a world with too much food, yet there's starvation. This great difference in living standards between the rich and the poor can be seen clearly in Hong Kong.

This problem is always highlighted during the Mid-Autumn Festival; I've witnessed it myself.

Our shelves are filled with half-eaten mooncakes, and our refrigerators packed with the leftovers of last week's festival dinner.

However, I can't help but feel guilty about the celebrations that have taken place. Why? Because one in four children here do not have three meals a day, and one in five people live below the poverty line.

Bridging this gap between the rich and the poor is Ming (), who owns a small eatery known by Sham Shui Po residents as the "restaurant for the poor".

As someone who understands the financial problems and pressures facing low-income families, he provides meals for those in need for just over HK$20, and spends his weekends handing out free meals to poor people, including the homeless.

It is this compassion that led him to take on a much bigger project this year.

Over the past few weeks, he's collected and given out more than 8,000 mooncakes to the underprivileged and the homeless.

This simple act of kindness has sparked similar movements, one of which is "Equality for All". With the help of social media (the project has gained more than 500 "likes" on Facebook), "Equality for All" has expanded into a city-wide movement. It has 18 collection points for food donations - in particular, mooncakes - as well as other basic necessities.

There's no quick-fix to the growing wealth gap in Hong Kong. But it's heartening to see that people are taking steps towards solving this problem. Even if it is only popping over to donate a small bag of rice, people's kindness really does matter.

Together, we can make a change, one mooncake at a time.


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- Mid-Autumn Festival is fast approaching, so we've taken the hard work out of mooncake shopping, and invited our junior reporters to review a variety of them

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