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Mission clients get much-needed food aid from distribution platform FOOD-CO

23 June 2020

By Daisy CL Mandap

Mission's staff and clients hold up some of the donated goods coursed through FOOD-CO

More than 100 clients of the Mission for Migrant Workers have started receiving box-full of grocery items coursed through FOOD-CO, an IT platform that helps feed the needy in Hong Kong by matching up food donors with food service operators.

Johannie Tong, community relations officer of the Mission, said they requested 130 sets of food items from the platform for their clients and residents of their shelter, the Bethune House Migrant Women’s Refuge.
“That’s just for this round,” Tong says. “They said they will notify us if there is another around.

Among the first to benefit from the food bonanza were four Filipina domestic workers who have been stranded in Hong Kong after losing their jobs, and are being helped by the Mission in pursuing their claims.

Each received 20 various items, including oatmeal, canned fish and beans, creamed corn and noodles.
 
Each beneficiary gets all these items, enough to fill a box
“This will be enough to feed all of us in our boarding house,” said one client who said she was pursuing a claim for unpaid wages from her former employers who had relocated to Singapore.

Among the lucky ones to get the food aid early was Charlene, who was on her first visit to the Mission for consultation.

She was thrown out of her employer’s house last Friday, after she asked to be allowed to take a day-off. Charlene said she was not allowed to leave the house since January, with her employer using the coronavirus outbreak as excuse.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love.

According to Esther Bangcawayan, case officer of the Mission, FOOD-CO had previously coordinated the distribution of fruits to their clients.

But a more substantial food donation was coursed their way this time because the IT platform realized that the pandemic has left many people in Hong Kong, including migrant workers, in distress.
 
The beneficiaries say they will share the food relief with fellow distressed migrant workers

FOOD-CO was set up in 2016 through a $10 million grant to St James’ Settlement by the HK government’s Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship Development Fund.

The IT platform uses technology and data analysis to facilitate food donations in a more efficient way.

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Since its founding, FOOD-CO has linked up 300 organizations that serve as food donors, and 200 groups that act as support service operators.

The members registered on the platform include a local gourmet group which donates its leftover fresh vegetables and unused ingredients, and a logistics company which stores donated goods in its warehouse.

FOOD-CO now covers all 18 districts in Hong Kong, and is on target to serve 53,000 sets of food per day, benefiting some 22,000 people.



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