IV. Poverty Alleviation Programs

(a) Abundant Blessing Meal (ABM) – Short-term Food Assistance Services (Self-financed)

The Abundant Blessing Meal (ABM) is one of the programs offered by ABMSBC as part of the Help-The-Poor program series.

 

The program is to tender short-term food assistance service to help individuals and families who have difficulties in coping with their daily food expenditure, including those among the unemployed, low-income earners, new arrivals, street sleepers, as well as individuals or families encountering sudden change and facing immediate financial hardship, etc.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic seems to make everything come to a halt but not our services, especially our food assistance service to the needy. During the period of COVID-19 pandemic last year, a large number of community members lost their jobs and the concerned families encountered immediate financial difficulties. One valid piece of evidence is that the number of cases receiving government funded food assistance rapidly increased by 138% in 7 months from 12/2019 to 6/2020. So is the service demands for ABM.

 

We cannot cope with the service needs on our own. We are grateful for having wonderful support from many people.

 

Thanks to many charitable trusts, corporates, churches, organizations and individuals for their generous donations, which enable us to continue our services to the needy to experience love and concern during difficult times.

The following shows how we go side by side with a service recipient during their hard times:

 

Mr. E's family of five rented a sub-divided unit in San Po Kong. His wife took care of three children and was unable to work, as their eldest son suffers from Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) while the youngest daughter suffers from dyslexia. Mr. E originally worked as a transportation worker to support the living expenses of his family. Due to his low income, he began to receive our agency's food assistance service for a period of time since October 2019. Since the epidemic last year, Mr. E became unemployed and relied on intermittent odd jobs and meagre savings to support his living. Recently his savings were exhausted and he was unable to pay rent, living expenses and additional training expenses for his children. He felt very helpless. After having learnt about his situation, we immediately arranged our Abundant Blessing Meal (ABM) food assistance service for the family on one hand, and on the other hand, our social worker assisted him in applying for a charity fund provided in the community so as to relieve his financial pressure and alleviate his urgent needs.

 

(b)Short-term Food Assistance Services Project V (Government funded)

We are the principal service operator of the Short-term Food Assistance Services Project V (STFASP V) subsidized by the Social Welfare Department (SWD) in Wong Tai Sin and Sai Kung with effect from 1 August 2018 to 31 July 2021. We have served more than 27,000 people and delivered more than 1,420,000 meal days to the needy within these three years. Prior to that, we have been one of the five Co-organizing agencies of STFASP also subsidized by the SWD in Kowloon East from 27 February 2009 to 31 July 2018.

(c) Children Fun Fun Fun

This program aims at widening the underprivileged children’s horizon and enriching their life exposure through provision of alternative learning opportunities, such as after school care service, interest classes, visits and outings.

(d) ELITE

(Edify Life-long Imprints for Tomorrow’s Excellence)
This Program aims at helping the underprivileged Form 3 to Form 6 students to plan their career path and attain a positive life development. Career Orientation is conducted by high calibre volunteers and companies to share with the students their respective professions and business. Our Clinical Psychologist conducts talks to the students.

Sharing of Study Skills

A HKU student volunteer shared her study skills with the ELITE students to help them prepare for DSE, the public examination

Updates of ELITE (2021):

Three of them were DSE students.

They were admitted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong in the 2021/2022 academic year. They study Medicine, Nursing and Business Administration.

The student, who studies Medicine, shares :

I’m grateful that I have participated in the ELITE Project which offered us much support. In terms of career planning, we could have the opportunity to visit a law firm and have a conversation with trainee solicitors to get a clearer picture on their routine jobs and career ladder. They also shared some study tips and their considerations on choosing subjects back then.

 

I still remember that one of the trainee solicitors mentioned that she used to be eager in studying medicine, but was deterred from studying it because of the foreseeable stress in the future and chose to study law instead. This sharing made me introspect on my determination in pursuing medicine, which turned out to reinforce my belief.

 

Students of physiotherapy and nursing, as well as a senior of my school were invited to share exam tips, course contents of their major and considerations in choosing major. This greatly enhanced my understanding on various career pathway and enabled me to make a clear future plan and have more comprehensive consideration on arranging JUPAS choices. In fact, physiotherapy and nursing was my backup plan in case I couldn’t get an ideal result in HKDSE. Therefore, the ELITE Project really helped me a lot in career planning.

 

Moreover, the ELITE Project once invited a doctor to give a talk in our school. I had a chance to talk with him individually after the talk and discussed bioethics and studying methods with him. Never had I ever imagined to be able to get this precious opportunity to be this close to a real doctor. This impressive talk has further ignited my interest in pursuing medicine.

 

As for reflection on myself, the ELITE Project arranged personality test for us to better understand our personalities and what jobs were suitable for us. Regular meetings offered us a chance to deepen our understanding on ourselves and to set short and long term goals in our life.

 

All in all, this Project has brought a lot of benefits to me and I therefore wholeheartedly recommend it to the juniors.

 

The student, who studies Nursing, shares :

This Program provides a platform for students to participate in different activities, such as doctor’s sharing and visit to a law firm.

In group activities, participants can be more aware of their interests through different types of activities.

We can deeply understand our strengths and characteristics.

I will highly recommend students to participate in this Program which can help them know more about themselves.

(e) HEAL

The HEAL Project is one of the programs offered by ABMSBC as part of the Help-The-Poor program series.

 

The program is to tender assistance to the cancer patients, who are receiving chemotherapy and radiotherapy, by supplying them with nutritious milk / milk powder as nutritious supplement. As our centre is located in East Kowloon Region and due to limitation of resources, we can serve referral cases from the United Christian Hospital and the Haven of Hope Hospital. The cases are referred either by the medical doctors or the medical social workers.

The following shows how we go side by side with service recipients during their hard times:

 

1) Mr. A (Age 62)

Mr. A suffered from Esophageal Cancer, which made him tolerate only a fluid diet to sustain his life. The nutritious milk was so costly that it constituted a significant portion of his whole family income. Therefore, Mr. A seriously considered ending his life because he did not want to become a huge burden to his family. Furthermore, one of his close family members suffered from depression due to the tremendous stress of looking after him. The medical social worker realized his difficulties and referred him to us. Mr. A felt greatly relieved when he knew that we were willing to support his nutritious milk. He called off his suicidal thought and was grateful to our assistance. His family member’s emotional state also improved.

 

2) Mr. B (Age 60)

Mr. B is a patient suffering from Nasopharyngeal carcinoma. The patient is receiving radiotherapy and chemotherapy. During his treatment, Mr. B went through difficult time of treatment. He suffered a lot despite the use of high dosage of anti-biotic, which caused him much agony. With the help of the extra nutritious milk, he recovered sooner than expected. Mr. B felt grateful to our assistance.

 

3) Ms. C (Age 58)

Ms. C is suffering from colonic cancer. When she was receiving chemotherapy, knowing that Ms. C came from an under-privileged family, the medical social worker referred her for our assistance by seeing that the patient was very weak. Nutritious milk was delivered to help her recover from her weak body.

 

4) Mr. D (Age 67)

Mr. D, together with his family of three, was one of the recipients of the Short-term Food Assistance Service due to unemployment. During their application, Mr. D’s wife informed us that her husband was suffering from Esophageal Cancer. Upon receipt of the information and our continuous caring enquiry into the family background, it was further learnt that Mr. D was undergoing radiotherapy, which had caused Mr. D suffering from swallowing difficulties. He could hardly swallow anything, including solid food items. Caring about Mr. D’s physical conditions, we suggested Mrs. D to discuss with Mr. D’s medical doctor about Mr. D’s health conditions and to explore anything that was needed to alleviate his situations. Mr. D was then referred by his medical doctor and the medical social worker of the hospital for nutritional supplement assistance. After thorough communication with Mr. D’s medical social worker, we learnt that it would be helpful if fluid nutritional supplement could be provided to Mr. D during his palliative radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Nutrition milk powder was then delivered to Mr. D to relieve his agony.

Services to Small Cubicle Household

Home Visit

 

There is a large number of sub-divided unit households that need to be contacted because of our food assistance services and our participation in the project launched by the Community Care Fund, which provides support to the sub-divided unit household to improve their living environment. The service area covers Wong Tai Sin, San Po Kong and Ngau Chi Wan. During the home visits, we find that the general living environment of these families is small and crowded. Space for activities is scarce. Moreover, since the buildings are not properly managed, most of them are dilapidated and dirty, and the sanitary conditions are poor. Even though the environmental conditions are so bad, the rent is still very high and actually not affordable for those low-income families. As their lives are already stretched, they still have to cope with such expensive rents that causes a huge burden to them. Hence, any kinds of food assistance can definitely help most of the recipients to relieve their life pressure.

 

Recently, I paid a home visit to a client who lives in Wong Tai Sin. She is an elderly person living alone. Due to the rugged and difficult path inside her community, together with the lack of light and incomplete house number, I was afraid that I could not find her unit. Hence I decided to meet her at the entrance of the village so that she could pick me up to her house. However, she did not show up at the time we agreed. So I called her but she did not answer my calls for several times. At the last attempt, she answered. It turned out that she was busy with picking cardboards on the streets and forgot my home visit. Having answered my call, she rushed back. When we met, she took me through a winding, dark and slippery path to her residence. Then, we had to carefully climb a dilapidated ladder to reach her house, which was filled with sundries and debris. It was hard to move around with two persons standing inside it. The old woman showed me those old things, which she treated like her treasures. She picked them from the garbage station, such as the rusty fan, rice cooker, refrigerator ...… I was looking, listening, but speechless...!

【A Corner of Subdivided Household】

 

In one of the six-storey tenement buildings in Wong Tai Sin District, a long-lost and warm scene appeared. I call it a small neighborhood community.

 

This building has two flats on each storey, and the two flats on the fifth floor are divided into three subdivided units, living a total number of six households. One of which has only one young man living alone, and the other five households are families with couple and children. What is commendable is that these six households are like one big family. The door is usually open among the households. Children come and go, play together, and share food; adults watch and help each other. From time to time, they will meet together to have a big food party on the rooftop. Each family contributes their own food and share together. The atmosphere is lively and warm.

 

The man living alone usually cooks less, but he never lacks dessert and soup; a family treats guests and is in a flurry, other families will automatically lend a helping hand; a family who makes delicious food will often share it with other families. Once, a couple of a family went back to their hometown to handle affairs and left their children to be taken care of by their neighbors. When they came back, they found that the windows were clean, even the bed sheets were washed …... The neighbors feel obliged to help each other, and their selfless devotion helps nurture the interpersonal relationship. The loneliness between people is completely broken, the tacit understanding of coexistence, symbiosis and sharing brings them closer to each other, forming a peculiar small community, sharing each other's love and human interest!

 

(g) Embrace Ladies' Club

The primary objective of this program is to empower the disadvantaged women with self-belief and skills that will assist them in making a positive contribute to their families and community.

(h) Assistance of daily necessities

Assistance of daily necessities are rendered to the underprivileged through donation-in-kind from donors.

(i) Charity Sales

The revenue generated from the Charities Sales will be used for supporting the Poverty Alleviation Programs.

ABMSBC

 

The ABM Hong Kong Swatow Baptist Church Community Service Association (its alias: ABMSBC) was formed on 20th October 2004. ABMSBC is formed to recognize the actual makeup and organization of our agency. American Baptist Mission has a long working relationship with Swatow Baptist Churches. The history of cooperation can be dated back to 1954.

美差會潮浸服務聯會

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