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Storms Unite People in Macau
Over 100 Volunteers Support The Salvation Army Relief Work
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Adversity brings out the best in man. After being hit by two typhoons in August, Macau has been heavily devastated, but enthusiastic citizens demonstrated their solidarity by actively taking part in relief work. The northern district, where The Salvation Army service units are located, is one of the hardest hit regions. As The Salvation Army has built a good rapport and trust through its long-time presence in the community, many people readily responded to its post-typhoon relief work. Over 100 volunteers were mobilised for distribution of relief supplies, door-to-door checking and visits, cleaning the streets and recycling plastic bottles. A well-established social network of The Salvation Army enables the volunteers to quickly reach out and give out relief supplies to families in need.
 
Volunteer Tam Chon-fong: Most Precious is Unity
Tam Chon-fong, an 18-year-old Form 5 student, is an active member of The Salvation Army Joy Family Integrated Services Centre. Also a dragon boat team member, Tam is used to working in teams with other youngsters and Salvation Army social workers. As soon as he knew that The Salvation Army needed volunteers to help with its relief work after the typhoons, Tam and a few of his friends joined the volunteer team without much ado, helping to distribute relief supplies and cleaning the streets. He recounted the most unforgettable home visit where an immobile elderly woman had not eaten anything for the whole day. The food and water they brought along came just in time. As The Salvation Army Joy Family Integrated Services Centre has been running a soup delivery programme for many years, they are well acquainted with the elderly living alone, people with disabilities and single parent families in the neighbourhood, making it possible for volunteers to offer timely assistance to the neediest people.
 
Tam and the other volunteers braved the winds and rain, cleaning the streets for days from 9am to 7pm. ‘It’s tough work, but worthwhile. It broke my heart to see the damages in the streets. I really wanted to restore it all. I was glad to see so many young people share my view. I even met a few old classmates in the volunteer teams. It gave us a sense of warmth and motivation,’ Tam shared how he was truly impassioned by the unity of the Macau citizens. ‘I used to think Macau is a fast-paced city where people are socially alienated. However, after this incident I see the unity among the people here. People from all walks of life who speak different languages with different skin colours are helping out, including Filipino domestic helpers and the PLA soldiers.’ In future, Tam will continue to spare his time in volunteering and helping people in need.
 
Volunteer Koo Chi-shing: Victims Helping Victims
Koo Chi-shing is a member of The Salvation Army Joy Family Integrated Services Centre who always takes part in the parent-child activities of the Centre with his daughter. His home was without power and water supply after the sudden storm. ‘I could feel it (the building) shaking even when I was sitting. We had to walk up and down a dozen flights of stairs.’ As the city was left in ruins, he responded and joined The Salvation Army Centre in its relief efforts. Mr Koo and other residents in the neighbourhood helped packing the relief supplies at the Centre, which were then delivered to the older residential areas on his own car. ‘I dared not drive fast in order to avoid trash and broken trees.’ These volunteers paid door-to-door visits and delivered food and water to families in need. A simple ‘thank you’ from the beneficiary is a strong driving force for him to continue his service.
 
Rebuilding Community and Souls
Following the initial response, The Salvation Army initiated a plastic bottles recycling campaign. As of 6 September, over 2,000 plastic bottles were collected. After the volunteers washed the bottles and removed the labels, the bottles will be sent to The Salvation Army’s recycling partners to be recycled into other plastic products as a way to reduce waste after the disaster and to raise the public awareness of the environmental protection.
 
Furthermore, The Salvation Army begins providing emotional and spiritual care, taking the initiative to visit elderly living alone, people with disabilities and single parent families, providing practical help, emotional counselling, and assistance with application of disaster relief subsidy for home repair.
 
The Salvation Army in Macau
In 2000, the first Macau service unit – Iao Hon Corps and Community Service Centre – was established in the northern district to provide spiritual and community services to grassroots families. Later the Recycling Programme and Joy Family Integrated Service Centre were also established, followed by the (Macau) Learning Centre. Throughout these years, we have been a reliable partner to Macau people and connect different parties to care for those in need together. Apart from the community care services, The Salvation Army supports emergency relief in China and over the world.
 
Tam Chon-fong (1st left) jo...
Tam Chon-fong (3rd left) is...
Koo Chi-shing (1st left) is...
Koo Chi-shing uses his own ...
The Salvation Army has esta...