The onslaught of the fifth wave of the pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to Hong Kong society. As the Omicron variant spreads more easily than the original virus that causes COVID-19, and with tens of thousands of confirmed cases reported in the city daily, many Hong Kong residents have had to isolate at home. Even though the government has been sending rapid antigen test kits, proprietary Chinese medicines and personal protective equipment to Omicron-infected people and households, many COVID-19-confirmed families are experiencing food shortages, as they were unable to source sufficient food and necessities before the virus came along.
Ms Yip and her 90-year-old parents who live in Oi Man Estate tested positive for COVID-19 in early March. Given the age of her parents and their living situation, Yip had been keeping a close eye on the pandemic news, which had prompted her to stock up on canned foods, necessities and medicine. However, this stockpile proved to be inadequate when the three-member family had to quarantine at home for nearly two weeks after their positive tests.
In the midst of this stressful situation, Yip’s family received a “caring goodie bag” from Link through district councillor Cho Wui-hung’s office with rice packs, canned foods, biscuits, packed drinks and other necessities, which was literally a lifesaver for them.
“My dad is particularly delighted to have received the rice packs – he said it’s nice rice,” Yip said with a smile. “And he joked that he will only consume the canned black bean dace fish after he tests negative to celebrate his recovery!”
Yip’s mother was a bit upset, as she was the first to confirm COVID-19-infected. But her mood turned a lot better after the arrival of the goodie bag from Link, as she feels loved and cared for. Yip expressed her gratitude to Link for the timely goodie bag, which saved her the trouble of seeking help from relatives to deliver food amid the chaos so she can spare more time to take care of her elderly parents.
Living in Lok Fu, Mr Chan and his wife found out that they were COVID-19 positive in mid-March without any prior stock-up of food for their period of home quarantine. Facing such a nasty blow and without close friends and relatives living nearby to help deliver food, the helpless Chan couple sought help immediately from Andie Chan Wai-kwan, Chairman of the Lok Fu Residents' Affairs Association.
“We were so grateful that Kwan Gor (Andie) helped deliver Link’s ‘caring goodie bag’ to our doorstep – it meant a lot to us at that point in time when we were so worried about our health and lack of food,” Chan said. “We didn’t have much of an appetite during the first few days when we were infected, and the goodie bag saved us the trouble of sourcing food for later so that we could take more rest for a full recovery. We really appreciate this timely support from both Link and the district association.”
In addition to caring about needy families in the community, Link also cares about the needs of elderly doubleton families – some of these elderlies are disabled, ill or in a deteriorating mental state, and live with their older father and/ or mother. Many of them have limited mobility and have lacked care during the pandemic as their children or caregivers have tested positive for COVID-19. In view of this, Link has joined hands with The Neighbourhood Advice-Action Council on the "bringing warmth to the elderly" campaign to deliver about 300 “caring goodie bags” filled with food and fresh vegetables, which have been hard to come by because of panic buying and transportation disruptions.
Since the outbreak of the fifth wave, over the past two months Link has sourced food and supplies from tenants of its shopping centres and fresh markets to produce around 2,500 “caring goodie bags” for people in need. With help from district councillors’ offices and social welfare organisations, Link has delivered love and care to the COVID-19-infected families and elderly doubletons in the community through these goodie bags, which not only provide food but also surgical masks to better protect infected and non-infected family members, as many grassroots families live in cramped flats and are unable to isolate from one another.
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