The kindness of Taiwanese is a “model for Asia,” Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) said yesterday at a banquet for underprivileged groups in Taipei to mark the end of the lunar year.
Each year, the Genesis Social Welfare Foundation, the Huashan Social Welfare Foundation and the Zenan Homeless Social Welfare Foundation host year-end banquets nationwide for low-income people; those who are homeless or long-term unemployed; elderly people living alone; and single mothers in need of assistance, organizers said.
This year, 16 banquets were held across Taiwan — including in Keelung, Hsinchu, Miaoli County and Taichung — with a total of 4,070 tables, involving about 40,000 guests and 5,000 volunteers, they said.
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
The banquet in Taipei, which took place on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office Building, had 2,200 tables and nearly 30,000 guests, they added.
The meaningful event started 30 years ago, when volunteers delivered boxed meals to homeless people, Chen said, before thanking the volunteers at the Taipei event.
It was the first time that more than 40,000 people have eaten a “reunion meal” before the Lunar New Year, he said.
The compassion of Taiwan’s kind people has not only lit up the nation, but it can also be a model for the rest of Asia, Chen said, adding that other countries could learn from Taiwan how to take care of disadvantaged people.
Despite the cold weather, people’s hearts were “warm,” Genesis Social Welfare Foundation founder Tsao Ching (曹慶) said, adding that every disadvantaged person is “our own flesh and blood.”
Taiwan’s most beautiful scenery is the hearts of its people, Taipei Deputy Mayor Tsai Ping-kun (蔡炳坤) said, adding: “The warmth of Taiwanese is the area that can touch the world the most.”
Chen Mei-chuan (陳美泉), a volunteer, said that he used to be a guest at the banquets and was able to come through a difficult time in his life with the help of the Zenan Homeless Social Welfare Foundation.
He is grateful to those who have helped him, he said, adding that although he is not wealthy, he does what he can to help those in need during the Lunar New Year and traditional festivals.
The number of small donors who contributed to the event increased this year, showing that an increasing number of people want to help disadvantaged groups, the Zenan Homeless Social Welfare Foundation said.
The foundations hope that more people will join the philanthropic efforts, it added.
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