HONG KONG (SE): Church groups have come out in support of helping the needy cope with the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak by distributing face masks. Organisers said the campaign is only a small way of sharing God’s love with neighbour.
A team of 20 members of the Indonesian Catholic Community distributed masks to public toilet cleaners, trash depot workers, the elderly and taxi drivers in Causeway Bay and Wan Chai on February 16.
Father Heribertus Hadiarto, chaplain to Indonesaians, said around 1,500 masks were given away. The group bought the masks from Indonesia, while the group members donated the rest.
Father Hadiarto said the group would distribute more when it receives delivery of another batch of masks.
The chaplain said it was only a small thing that the group could do during the epidemic, quoting Mother Teresa who said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
Mask donation activities organised by parishes and schools for the marginalised have been going on since early February.
Wah Yan College Hong Kong and Kowloon held mask donation campaigns in which masks with independent packing were collected at reception counters.
Father Stephen Chow Sau-yan said in a Facebook post on January 31 that there is an urgent need for masks but that the prices become really expensive. So the two schools urged teachers, students, parents and alumni to donate masks during this period of shortage.
Father Chow said the campaign shows the importance of helping others, which is one of the principles of Jesuit schools and also a core value of our faith.
The donation campaigns were held as part of the activities for school anniversary celebrations. Wah Yan college Hong Kong celebrates its centenary this year, while Wah Yah College Kowloon celebrates its 95th anniversary.
The donated masks will be given to social services and welfare organisations who will offer them to the needy as well as to students who cannot afford to buy them, that is, students whose families are subsidised by the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Wanchai, also set up a mask donation box. The donated masks were offered to Wah Yan College.
The Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, Caine Road, started a donation campaign on February 1. The parish said through a Facebook post on February 3 that the masks collected would be given to Caritas-Hong Kong, who would distribute them to grassroots people, the elderly and cleaning workers.
The social concern group of St. Bonaventure Church, Tsz Wan Shan, said on its Facebook page on February 11 that over 200 masks donated and were given away after the Masses on February 8 and 9.
The social concern group of St. John the Baptist parish also said on February 15 that it had concluded the first stage of its donation activity in which over 500 masks, as well as other sanitising items, were collected. They would be given to the Catholic Commission for Labour Affairs to be given to cleaning workers.
The group thanked donors for their generosity during the time of serious shortage, which is a way to bear witness to the love of God.