People Stories

Youth Development & Poverty Alleviation

Three meals free of worries

The pandemic has taken a toll on the economy, with people from all walks of life feeling the strain. Many people have become jobless or under-employed, with low-income families in particular struggling to make ends meet. Mr and Mrs Chan, together with their two children, have keenly felt the economic impact of the pandemic. The couple used to work in catering but Mr Chan lost his job as a waiter after Covid-19 broke, forcing him to work longer hours as a security guard. Mrs Chan, who worked as a chef, was requested to take no pay leave. Their family income is now down by a third from before.

Mr and Mrs Chan are very careful with their food budget. They have been buying less meat to cut down expenses. “My son wants to eat pork ribs but I don’t want to spend the money,” Mrs Chan said. She added it is stressful to prepare three meals a day for a family of four. This changed after she learned about the Jockey Club Food Assistance Programme, which provides food support to people who struggle to make a living during the pandemic.

Funded and initiated by the Club’s Charities Trust in September 2020, the programme partners with various NGOs and companies to support a range of short-term and long-term food assistance measures, providing over five million meals to people in need. Mr and Mrs Chan joined the programme following an assessment from a social worker. Soon they were ordering home meal deliveries via a special online platform. Mr and Mrs Chan said the programme has saved them several thousand dollars. They have set the savings aside to spend on their children’s education.

In response to the Covid-19 fifth wave, the Electronic Food Bank Service under the Jockey Club Food Assistance Programme was expanded, benefitting an additional 30,000 low-income earners. In addition, consultants from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Paediatric Foundation have provided nutrition advice to the programme. The programme has also added an innovative Automated Food Dispenser Service – machines were set up across Hong Kong, allowing flexible collection of cook-chill meals to support those who work irregular hours. Finally, a Hot Meal Service offers free hot meals to individuals and families living in homes where it is inconvenient to cook.