A local foundation launched an initiative yesterday to raise funds for a year-end banquet for homeless and economically challenged people nationwide, calling on the public to care for the needy during the cold winter months.
The Ren-an Charity Foundation, benefactor of the funds, said the annual banquet, which is to be held at 13 places around Taiwan to serve an estimated 31,500 homeless people, elderly people living alone and low-income single mothers, is still 80 percent short of funds.
Ren-an Charity needs about NT$50 million (US$1.64 million) for the Jan. 11 banquet, said Wu Chao-fen, a public relations official for the foundation, which has been hosting the banquet for the past 21 years.
“By organizing this banquet ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, a time for reunion, we hope it will show the homeless and poor that they are still cared about by many people, and hopefully this will motivate them to improve their situations,” Wu said. “The goal of the foundation is not only to provide meals for these people, but to help them find jobs and regain confidence.”
More than 20,000 homeless and economically challenged people attended last year’s banquet, Wu said.
At yesterday’s press conference in Taipei, a charity worker dressed in a Santa Claus outfit gave -jackets, sleeping bags and tickets to three homeless people who were invited to talk about their New Year’s wishes. Singer Tseng Yu-chia (曾昱嘉) and TV hostess and actress Jane Lee (李佩甄) attended the fundraiser, organized by e.Sun CG Art Corp, in support of the cause. Those who wish to make a donation can call 02-2836-1600, the foundation said.
Statistics from the foundation showed that it helped more than 700,000 needy people last year.