A coalition of social welfare groups yesterday held 16 banquets for more than 40,000 homeless or disadvantaged people nationwide ahead of the Lunar New Year on Feb. 5.
The annual event, which is organized by the Genesis Social Welfare Foundation, the Huashan Social Welfare Foundation and the Zenan Social Welfare Foundation, offered free food and NT$500 in red envelopes for attendees, who included single mothers and elderly people living alone.
The Taipei banquet on Ketagalan Boulevard had 2,200 tables and was attended by 20,000 guests.
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
Among the attendees were five centenarians, including one aged 108.
Lin Neng-huo (林能火), 100, said it was his second such banquet.
“Having so many friends here makes me very happy,” Lin said.
Despite using a wheelchair, Lin said he has worked as a barber for more than 70 years.
“Working keeps me healthy,” he said.
Another guest, 102-year-old Yu Yuan-shih (俞元師), described himself as a mahjong enthusiast.
Yu said he spends most of his time playing with staff at social welfare groups or watching television at home.
Also in attendance was former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who said that the banquet evolved from a community program launched in 1987 by the mother of Genesis Social Welfare Foundation founder Tsao Ching (曹慶).
Tsao’s mother used to make boxed meals with other volunteers to give away to homeless people in Taipei’s Wanhua District (萬華) each Lunar New Year’s Eve, Ma said.
In the same spirit, the foundation in 1991 organized its first year-end banquet for homeless people in the district, he said, adding that it only had 10 tables.
Today, the event has grown significantly thanks to the kindness of many people, Ma said.
The organizers prepared more than 4,000 tables of food for needy people across the nation, supported by nearly 3,000 volunteers and 50,000 donors, he said.
Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) thanked event organizers for their kindness.
“It warms my heart to see people enjoying warm food at this annual get-together,” Chen said.
It is the government’s responsibility to take care of disadvantaged people and with that purpose in mind, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in June last year launched a subsidy program for children from low-income or medium-income families, Chen said.
The program allows families to apply for a special savings account, which is credited with government subsidies, he said, adding that so far 7,300 people have applied and saved a combined NT$180 million (US$5.8 million), NT$65 million of which came from their own pockets, with the rest from interests and government subsidies, he said.
Taiwan from Thursday is to reinstate visa exemptions for passport holders from 65 countries. Mandatory quarantine for arriving travelers is to be lifted on Oct. 13 , when restrictions on inbound and outbound tour groups are also to be lifted. The following is a list of answers to common questions regarding how the new regulations are to affect inbound international visitors Which passports will have visa-free entry privileges? Eleven more countries on Thursday are to join 54 countries that were given visa-free privileges on Sept. 12. Passport holders from Japan, South Korea, Chile, Israel and Nicaragua can stay in Taiwan for up to 90 days without a visa. Taiwan is also to resume 30-day visa-free stays for citizens of the Dominican Republic, Singapore and Malaysia. Passport holders from Thailand, Brunei and the Philippines are to be allowed to stay in Taiwan for 14 days visa-free. Taiwan on Sept. 12 resumed 90-day visa-free entry for passport holders from the US, the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New
PRIDE AND FURY: Supporters of the Taiwan People’s Communist Party sang in Tainan, while Taiwan loyalists in Kaohsiung vowed to ‘protect Taiwan until death’ Two small Taiwanese groups at the far ends of the debate over relations with Beijing marked the National Day of the People’s Republic of China yesterday with flag raisings and flag burnings — opposite responses at a time of rising tension over the Taiwan Strait. Oct. 1 marks the day that Mao Zedong (毛澤東) proclaimed the People’s Republic of China in 1949, with the defeated Republic of China government fleeing to Taiwan at the end of that year, where — after democratic reforms — it remains to this day, neither recognizing the other. China’s national day is not officially marked in any
Adolescents aged 12 to 17 can start receiving the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine from tomorrow, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, adding that the second phase of inoculations using Moderna’s bivalent vaccine would begin next week. The Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has recommended that the Novavax vaccine can be administered to adolescents aged 12 to 17 as their primary series of vaccines or as a booster shot. It also allowed a mix-and-match approach. The Novavax vaccine is a good choice for eligible recipients who are worried about possible adverse reactions from other COVID-19 vaccines, said
‘CONSENSUS’: The CECC would brief the Cabinet on its reopening plans if data show that a local outbreak proceeded as it had predicted, Premier Su Tseng-chang said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) could announce today that it would fully reopen borders on Oct. 13, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday. Su in the morning inspected Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to check if airport personnel were prepared to cope with an expected rise in passenger volume today, when the weekly cap for international arrivals would increase to 60,000 people. The requirement for a saliva-based polymerase chain reaction test upon landing is also to be waived. The CECC last week announced that a zero-quarantine policy for international arrivals could be implemented from Oct. 13, depending on the local