Over 4,000 residents, 1,600 NRWs seek Caritas’ help last year: Pun

2021-04-08 03:31     Comment:0

Caritas Macau Secretary General Paul Pun Chi Meng told The Macau Post Daily yesterday that over 4,000 residents sought handouts from his charity’s food bank, while 1,600 non-resident workers (NRWs) used Caritas Macau’s “COVID-19 subsidy programme”.

Pun made the remarks during a phone interview with The Macau Post Daily.

Pun pointed out that Caritas Macau’s food bank is a government-subsidised programme which has been set up for residents who are unemployed or in need of financial support. He said that residents can sign up for a 10-week programme in which the food bank provides the beneficiaries assistance worth 40 patacas a day. However, NRWs and their families do not benefit from the programme, Pun underlined.

According to the veteran social worker, over 4,600 residents were helped by the food bank last year, which was an 11 percent increase compared to 2019, adding that 30 percent of the 4,600 residents were new recipients of the assistance. He noted that in the first quarter of this year, 1,075 residents sought handouts from the food bank, and some 15 percent of them were “new comers”.

Pun said that during the COVID-19 pandemic many NRWs, informally known as “blue card holders”, lost their jobs and are in dire straits. Therefore, he added, his charity has set up its “COVID-19 subsidy programme”, which is a campaign to collect essential items for NRWs and their infants.

Pun pointed out that the campaign ended last night, and people had donated cash, babies clothing, milk, facemasks, food vouchers, tinned food, eggs and other items for the NRWs. He also said that since NRWs cannot benefit from the food bank, what they received from Caritas Macau was from other people’s donations. He noted that while residents receive assistance worth 40 patacas per day from the food bank, the NRWs can only receive assistance worth 20-30 patacas per day from the Catholic charity, and if the NRW is not unemployed, he or she can only get goods that are close to the end of their shelf life.

Pun said he was grateful that within the past three days more than 400 residents donated essential items for blue card holders. He also noted that in 2019 almost no NRWs sought Caritas Macau’s help, yet in 2020 1,600 of them asked for assistance, 400 of whom became regulars.

Macau confirmed its first COVID-19 case in January last year.

This photo from Caritas Macau’s website shows the products that are given out to locals in need through its food bank.

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