Mon, Jan 19, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Charities feel the pinch at Presidential Office

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Charitable groups felt the pinch of the economic downturn yesterday as an annual year-end celebration organized for disadvantaged children was held without government funding for the first time at the Presidential Office.

China Professional Skills Association for the Handicapped director Liu Hsiu-ching (劉秀卿) said the event has been held for the past 15 years, but it was the first time it had not received government funding. Because of the lack of funds, Liu said she had to cut back on expenses and ask her friends to donate gifts and food.

“What we do here is very simple,” she said. “We just want the children to have fun.”

The event has been held at the Presidential Office five times and at the Taipei Guest House 10 times. Yesterday’s event attracted 300 children, Aborigines, children from low-income families or foster homes and the physically or mentally disadvantaged.

Federation of Non-Profit Associations director Hsieh Cheng-ta (謝政達) urged the public to care about disadvantaged children and give them a safe and loving environment in which to grow up.

Shou Shin-fang (信手坊), a store specializing in Japanese muaji (麻糬) made a 60kg muaji for everyone to share at the event yesterday.

Local ice cream brand Hsiao Mei (小美) provided 700 containers of vanilla ice cream, one of its most popular products.

Hsiao Mei chairman Lu Ming-yen (呂明炎) said in the old days, ice cream was considered a good remedy for treating a cold because it was nutritious and high in calories.

Sushi Express donated 300 boxes of sushi and 300 toy models.

District manager Chiu Yong-ruei (邱永瑞) said it was the first time the firm had participated at the event.

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