A group of postal workers in a southern town do not just deliver mail to residents; they also deliver love to lonely senior citizens living alone.
More than 10 men and women working at the Sinying District (新營) post office in Greater Tainan realized that a growing number of seniors are living alone in their service area, so they decided to jointly “adopt” 10 of them. They visit regularly and give them gifts during the Moon Festival and other annual celebrations.
In spite of their low salaries, they have been chipping in money to buy rice, milk, oatmeal and even adult diapers, winning the heartfelt gratitude of the senior citizens.
“Grandpa Lin, have you eaten?” That’s the way this group of postmen and women say hello to an 84-year-old man as they bring rice, oatmeal and diapers to his home.
Lin (林) is all smiles, as if it were long-time friends who are visiting.
Many of the region’s young people have left to work and live in other cities, leaving their seniors home alone, said Wu Mao-pi (吳茂丕), one of the men involved in the charity drive.
“What happens to them if they get sick?” Wu said.
So he discussed with his colleagues how they could help. They decided to “adopt” 10 seniors in their district.
Wu said that some of the seniors have been having difficulties supporting themselves because they are not eligible for pensions due to their ownership of some land. The land is usually jointly owned by several siblings and hard to divide, leaving the owners not owning anything substantive. However, their nominal ownership excludes them from eligibility for senior pensions.
“Although we are not well paid, my colleagues and I buy them basic groceries, especially during festivals,” Wu said.
“It is the smiles on their faces that give us the greatest pleasure,” he added.
Over the past 10 years, Wu and his colleagues have regularly visited their “adoptees” and other seniors who have been identified by the local government as impoverished and living alone.
“We chat with them on a wide range of topics,” Wu said. “And they tell us that seeing our green uniforms is a great comfort to them. Sometimes they simply cannot stop talking.”
Dai Yu-tang (戴玉堂) said he makes an extra effort to visit the seniors on their “adoption list” when he is delivering mail to nearby buildings.
“I feel more at ease when I see them doing fine. A sense of unease comes to my mind when, for just one day, I have not seen them,” Dai said.
Chen Mei-hsiang (陳美香) said that seeing these seniors makes her realize the importance of maintaining good health. She said her heart feels heavy when she sees these seniors living alone, with no one around to take care of them, and expressed hope that she can do more to help them.
The post office workers have also extended their charity work to two disabled seniors living in remote areas in nearby Baihe and Yanshui districts. They do not just buy groceries, but also run such errands as depositing and withdrawing money from their savings accounts.
The two are obviously grateful for these services, patting them on their shoulders and saying that “with you folks around, I’m really happy.”
The Sinying Post Office is cooperating with the Huashan Social Welfare Foundation to buy 90 tickets for seniors to a luncheon in Tainan on Sept. 18. The party, dubbed “With Love from the Moon, Your Happiness Will Never Age,” is aimed at celebrating this year’s Moon Festival, which falls on Sept. 30.