May 7-13, 2012
Chinese Christian Relief Association distributes food packages to help people fight price hikes
Reported by Chiou Kuo-rong
Written by Lydia Ma
As the price of fuel and electricity spike, families with very little income are suffering because it has become even harder to survive. To help these families get through trying times, Chinese Christian Relief Association (CCRA) has set up a “1919 Food Bank”. Nevertheless, CCRA’s Advertising Manager Lee Shu-mei has warned that if the price of daily consumption items continues to rise, the streets of Taiwan may soon be filled with homeless and dying people unable to care for themselves.
According to statistics from the Ministry of the Interior, there were 114,000 families living below the poverty line in the first half of 2011. These families earned less than NT$20,000 per month. In addition, the rise of odd jobs or temporary employment in recent years as poor substitutes for traditional forms of employment has also resulted in a sharp income decline to the level they used to be 13 years ago.
CCRA began its 1919 Food Bank program in 2011, when it began distributing food packages at Morakot Rebuilding Centers in eastern and southern Taiwan. To this date, it has organized 6 distribution drives and given out 7,200 food packages worth NT$1,200 each. However, due to the spike in consumer prices, CCRA decided to extend its program to cover the entire island beginning in January 2012. It is currently partnering with various food banks founded by churches across Taiwan and it expects to deliver up to 20,100 food packages to 3,350 families before the end of 2012. CCRA has also increased the value of these food packages to NT$1,800 each.
Rev. Yabu Tali, who pastors an indigenous Presbyterian church in Wufeng Township in Hsinchu (Atayal Presbytery), said that most indigenous members in his church depend on odd jobs or selling persimmons to make a living. Because many families have as many as 4 or 5 children, a median monthly income of less than NT$8,000 has made life very difficult for many families. These food packages actually take some pressure off from parents who are struggling to provide for the entire family.
Yabu Tali added that local churches have been able to reach out and meet the spiritual needs of indigenous families while distributing these food packages to people’s homes. “If we were to give cash to poor families, perhaps they would use it or squander it quickly. But since food packages cannot be resold, they are very useful.”
For those interested in donating to CCRA’s 1919 Food Bank, they can do so by visiting their nearest FamilyMart and donate NT$300 or more if they so desire. Such an amount will help a disadvantaged family receive a box of supplies containing noodles, flour, cooking oil, soya sauce, and canned food. For more information, call 02-8660-9995 or visit www.ccra.org.tw.