GELMac’s annual food drive aids the vulnerable in Macau

Marco Carvalho

Around 100 volunteers, including scouts, parents, friends and others participated in a food collection campaign organized by the Lusophone Scouts Group of Macau (GELMac) last Saturday.

The food collection drive, in its 16th edition, has almost become an Advent tradition in the Special Administrative Region where GELMac undertakes a mission in late November or early December to provide food to the needy. This year was no exception. On November 26, starting from noon to 6 pm, members of the Catholic-inspired Scouts group collected rice, cereals, pasta, canned goods and other non-perishable essential products at four supermarkets – two located in Macau and two in Taipa.

GELMac collected nearly three tons (2,818 kg) of food which was then channelled to Macau’s most destitute through Caritas. Headed by Paul Pun Chi Meng, Caritas is the food drive’s only beneficiary this year, and it took on the responsibility to deliver the goods to those who really need them. In recent years, non-resident workers have faced catastrophic levels of food insecurity and were amongst the main recipients of the solidarity campaign that was launched by the Lusophone Scouts Groups. Since COVID-19 is still considered a problem by local authorities, migrant workers were, once again, amongst the major beneficiaries of the campaign.

“Given the fact that many local families and non-resident workers are still undermined by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and find themselves in a situation of need, and bearing in mind the appeals that were made by Caritas Macau so that the local population could help those most in need, the Lusophone Scouts Group of Macau, once again, hosted its annual food drive. The in-kind donations were offered to Caritas Macau, which was the sole beneficiary of the campaign this year,” the group wrote in a press release.

GELMac held its first annual in-kind fundraiser in 2008, collecting about a ton of food. Back then, the goods were offered to the Sisters of Charity and to the Cradle of Hope Association. But for over a decade and a half, several other charitable associations were on the receiving end of the group’s kindness, including the Catholic Pastoral Center and the Association of Rehabilitation of Drug Abusers of Macau (ARTM).

“One year ago, the Lusophone Scouts Group managed to collect more than a ton and a half of food, which was offered to Caritas Macau and the Catholic Pastoral Center, essentially to help families in need and non-resident workers that were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” GELMac pointed out in the press release.

The main purpose of the initiative is to help Macau’s most destitute, but there is more to the campaign. The annual food drive, Nelson António claimed, is a wonderful way of teaching new generations to be more supportive.

“In addition to our main aim of helping those in need, this initiative is also a great way of making young people aware of the need to help Macau’s most vulnerable, thus making them better citizens,” the head of the Lusophone Scouts Group of Macau told O Clarim.

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