Faced with the challenging fifth wave of COVID-19, underprivileged families in Hong Kong are burdened by the costs of purchasing essential anti-epidemic supplies every day. As a response to the issue, and adhering to its corporate spirit of Creating Shared Value, New World Development announces today that it is partnering with the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) to roll out “Mask To Go” dispensers in five bustling locations. And with the help of three non-profit organisations, New World and the URA expect the latest anti-epidemic initiative to benefit 3,000 underprivileged families, who will safely and conveniently receive New World-made face masks for free every week.
Supporting the Local Community and Diverse Demographics
In 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, New World partnered with a number of local non-profit organisations to launch Hong Kong’s first “Mask To Go” Dispensers. Through the dispensers installed in community centres across 18 districts, and with a touchless smart card, low-income families were able to redeem a pack of face masks every week for free. Amidst the challenging fifth wave, New World is now joining forces with the URA, with the help of Hong Kong Christian Service, Children's Heart Foundation, and Community Drug Advisory Council, to launch the “Mask To Go” Dispensers Programme, reaching low-income families, persons with chronic illness, students from grassroots families, ethnic minorities, families in drug rehabilitation programmes, etc.
The three partnering non-profits will distribute mask redemption cards to 3,000 underprivileged families, with which the cardholders will be able to make a weekly redemption of five New World-made adult or kid face masks at one of the five designated URA premises, including H6 CONET and H18 CONET¹ in Central, Yue Man Square (YM²) in Kwun Tong, 7 Mallory Street (M7) in Wan Chai, and 618 Shanghai Street in Mong Kok. The programme is set to run for around three months.
Dr. Adolphus K. T. Chau, Chairman of Children’s Heart Foundation, said, “Due to birth defects, patients with congenital heart diseases are often physically weaker than an average person, and are more likely to develop severe symptoms after contracting COVID-19, which could pose a big threat to their lives. Our organisation is very grateful to New World Development for the ‘Mask To Go’ Dispensers Programme, which donates face masks to our members and provides practical anti-epidemic support to better protect the health of patients.”
Andy Tong Yee-lai, Manager of the participating non-profit organisation Hong Kong Christian Service, said, “We thank New World Development and the Urban Renewal Authority for launching this programme that provides a constant supply of face masks to our targeted beneficiaries. Not only will it alleviate their financial burden and stress, but it also offers them much-needed hope during the pandemic.”
Keith Wong, Executive Director of Community Drug Advisory Council, said, “Thanks to the partnership with organisations of varying backgrounds, the programme is able to help demographics that were previously rarely reached, including ethnic minorities and families in drug rehabilitation programmes, casting a much wider safety net for our community.”
Multi-pronged Approach to Support the Community’s Fight Against the Epidemic
New World Development is committed to empowering the community to fight the epidemic. Since the outbreak of the fifth wave, New World has unveiled a number of initiatives, including the launch of Share for Good, Hong Kong’s first large-scale crowd-donation platform. Share for Good partners with 34 non-profit organisations to connect donors directly with beneficiaries, allowing donors to make in-kind or cash donations, which will be collected by Yan Chai Hospital for the purchase of supplies to allow targeted and efficient donations to those in need. In February this year, the Group loaned a 3.5-hectare plot of land in Fanling to the Government for the construction of a mobile cabin hospital, and provided the cabin hospital with emergency supplies, while also offering a number of locations for free, such as Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, Sha Tin as free accommodation for frontline healthcare workers, and over 500,000 square feet of space at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre Phase 2 for the storage of pandemic-related supplies.
In addition to distributing 300,000 sets of rapid antigen test kits and over 20 million face masks to the underprivileged for free, the Group has also donated protective clothing, oximeters and a raft of anti-epidemic supplies to medical staff, cleaners, staff of residential care homes for the elderly and COVID-19 patients. Recently, the Group has also partnered with a number of non-profit organisations to donate cellular SIM cards to students from grassroots families and the singleton elders. Furthermore, since the fifth wave of COVID-19, the Group subsidiaries including NWS Holdings, FT Life, and Gleneagles Hospital Hong Kong have launched a number of initiatives to help the community fight the pandemic.
The Group will continue to pay close attention to the development of COVID-19, pulling out all the stops in providing the appropriate support, in order to fight against this pandemic together with different sectors and the public.
¹ H6 CONET and H18 CONET are respectively located at G/F, The Center, 99 Queen’s Road Central and 23 Gage Street in Central