DBS Hong Kong is committed to delivering a purpose beyond banking to create a sustainable future. To alleviate the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the local community, a HK$57 million DBS Stronger Together Fund, was set up by the DBS Group to help communities hard hit by the pandemic across the region. In Hong Kong, we are helping the elderly and at-risk groups, including underprivileged families, during this difficult period.
‘Care more’ for seniors
As part of this regional pledge, DBS Hong Kong kick started the ‘care more’ initiative in April 2020 to provide support to help the elderly and vulnerable groups cope better with the pandemic. There are about 1.2 million people in Hong Kong aged 65 or above, of which around 45% live in poverty. The impact of the pandemic and social distancing has been hard on these groups, who often already face isolation and loneliness, and may also suffer from various chronic illnesses.
We helped the Senior Citizen Home Safety Association – a self-financing nonprofit organisation, – increase their Care-on-Call outreach services by more than 20,000 service sessions, including calls and home visits by professional social workers and/or registered nurses, to better address the emotional and physical well-being of the elderly. This benefitted vulnerable seniors, with more than 30,000 care and food packs procured from social enterprise Agent of Change, which seeks to help the poor by selling quality foodstuffs and household goods at a low cost.
Commitment to Foodlink Foundation
The care more initiative encourages our employees and customers to contribute to helping out in the community. We pledged to match every dollar raised by employees for local charity partner Foodlink Foundation, which is working to provide food packs to the vulnerable. With the support of donations from our customers and our employees – and The DBS Stronger Together Fund – we sponsored over 20,000 food packs to help vulnerable communities.
In addition, we also joined hands with the Foodlink Foundation to launch the ‘Care more, Waste less’ initiative in July 2020 to transform surplus food into healthy meals for the deprived community. The amount of food waste has increased over the years in Hong Kong, from around 850 tonnes per day in 2007 to about 1150 tonnes per day in 2018. Food waste accounts for 31% of all municipal solid waste annually – and Hong Kong’s three landfills are going to run out of space soon.
With the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic upending nearly every aspect of daily life and disrupting supply chains – especially the food supply chain – there is growing concern that more food will be wasted in 2020 than ever before. Meanwhile, more than one million people live in poverty and struggle to afford nutritious meals.
Meals for the underprivileged
We sponsored a new refrigerated van that will be used by Foodlink Foundation to help collect safe-to-eat surplus food from F&B outlets all over the city for redistribution. The aim is to rescue 14 tonnes of surplus food, enabling the foundation to provide about 34,000 meals, helping to ease the burden on those who are facing job insecurity – as well as the many underprivileged – by providing daily food assistance.
Care more embodies DBS Hong Kong’s sense of purposeful banking, and is a way of standing together with the community – and acting with courage, perseverance and generosity. We work together to support those in need and hope this meaningful gesture can bring some joy to affected families, and support businesses to fight another day, for a more sustainable future for generations to come.