Sun, Jan 11, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Foundation seeks donations for the poor

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

The consumer vouchers to be issued by the government may not sound like much to most people, but for families living in poverty, they could make a crucial difference, the Children’s Welfare League Foundation said yesterday, calling for donations to the nation’s poor.

“For many people, NT$3,600 may not be much more than pocket money to spend on leisure and consumer goods, but for economically disadvantaged families, it could be life-saving money,” foundation executive director Alicia Wang (王育敏) said.

“You may not know it, but NT$3,600 can buy six cans of powdered milk to feed an orphan or a kid in a disadvantaged family for three months. It can buy fifteen 1.5kg packs of rice to feed 15 families for a month. It can buy nine winter outfits to keep nine kids from poor families warm even on a cold day like this,” Wang said.

Wang cited an informal online survey conducted by the Internet portal Yahoo-Kimo last month, which showed that near 50 percent of 27,163 respondents planned to use their NT$3,600 consumer vouchers on leisure and luxuries such as travel and gourmet food.

The vouchers will be distributed starting next Sunday.

On the other hand, more than 90 percent of 244 households living below the poverty line said in a survey conducted by the foundation that they would use the coupons to buy basic necessities like rice, vegetables, meat, canned food or toilet paper, or to pay the rent, Wang said.

“The global economic crisis has had an impact on everybody — but it has hit economically disadvantaged families the hardest and has pushed them into a corner,” Wang said. “Wage earners in these families have been laid off and many are unable to find even simple part-time jobs like handing out flyers on the street.”

With some families struggling to put food on the table, Wang said the foundation hoped people who are well off would donate their consumer vouchers to the foundation to help those in need.

“Although more than 90 percent of disadvantaged families said in the survey that the consumer vouchers would help them, 80 percent estimated that the consumer vouchers could cover their spending for only less than a month,” she said. “They need your help.”

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