Taichung launches mobile food banks

WHEN ENDS DON’T MEET: To date, volunteers have handed out 380 packages containing rice, canned food, noodles, fruit, vegetables and other provisions


Mon, Feb 23, 2009 - Page 2

To help disadvantaged families weather the financial crisis, Taichung City yesterday initiated a “mobile food bank,” with volunteers handing out packaged food to 100 families.

The project was a joint effort between the city government and the Hsing Shih Charitable Foundation (醒世慈善會). Yesterday was the first day of the program, in which 120 meals were served to homeless people in addition to the packaged food distributed to families.

Taichung Deputy Mayor Hsiao Jia-chi (蕭家旗), who attended the activity, said he felt sympathy for the people who lined up for food yesterday. Many had come a long way and some parents had sent their children alone, unable to attend because they work on weekends, he said.

Hsiao said the next time the government handed out food, it would be more flexible in terms of time and location to make sure it is convenient for single-parent families, the elderly living on their own and others in need.

Volunteers handed out 380 packages containing rice, canned food, noodles, fruit, vegetables and other provisions. Each package contained enough food for one person for month.

A mother who brought two children with her said that her husband was a cook who earned NT$30,000 a month, but was heavily burdened with loans and had to support three children. Even though her husband often brings home leftovers from the restaurant where he works, they are still struggling to get by, she said.

Another woman said that her husband was in jail, leaving her to support two children.

With help from the Taiwan Fund for Children and Families, she said she hoped to make ends meet at least until the end of the month, when she hopes her application for benefits for low-income families will be approved.

The foundation said its “mobile food bank” uses a system for storage and inventory control that ensures that no food goes to waste.

Meanwhile, Taichung Hospital announced yesterday that elderly people from low and middle-income families in the city may apply for a city government subsidy to help cover the cost of dentures.

In an effort to ensure the oral health of the city’s elderly, the Taichung City Government launched a program on Feb. 3 under which economically disadvantaged people aged 65 and over are entitled to a subsidy of up to NT$40,000 to cover the cost of dentures, said Lu Yu-hsiu (呂毓修), a dentist at the hospital.