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A community care project by the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong (BPA) and the Sha Tin Rural Committee to provide affordable food to needy people was officially launched in Sha Tin today (January 26).
Under the project, a venue on loan from the Sha Tin Rural Committee was transformed into a food market to sell popular items at concessionary rates, which helps reduce the costs of living for people in need.
BPA Chairman Mr Andrew Leung, Vice Chairman Mr Jeffrey Lam, BPA legislator Mr Christopher Cheung, and Sha Tin Rural Committee Chairman Mr Mok Kam-kwai attended the launch ceremony in their capacity as the project ambassadors. Wearing tailor-made aprons, they worked with volunteers to pack and deliver products to customers.
Mr Leung hoped the new service will help people in need lower their daily expenses and raise their living standards. “Big discounts are given to students, the elderly, the disabled and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients. The prices of some items are so attractive that they are cheaper than those at local supermarkets by 32 per cent,” he said.
Noting that the BPA represents the voice of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Mr Leung said that the project aimed to provide the general public with an alternative to supermarkets and that it would not compete with SMEs as the shop’s business hours are only restricted to Wednesdays and Saturdays.
“Our products on sale reflect the majority view of local residents. They are very ordinary items, such as macaroni, noodles, chicken essence and soy sauce. We also have canned food such as baked beans in tomato sauce, fried dace with salted black beans and luncheon meat. We will review our catalogue and include suitable items to meet public demand,” said Mr Mok Kam-kwai.
Vice Chairman Mr Jeffrey Lam said there was a proper safeguard against unscrupulous customers who might try to resell their products to others at higher prices. Under a membership system which is already up and running, each member is allowed to purchase a maximum of three pieces for each discount commodity at any one time.
“Any profits made from the project will be channeled back into its future expansion plan. We hope the project will foster ideas of similar partnerships between the government, the business sector and the general public, which should adhere to the concept that any profits made from a neighbourhood will be given back,” he said.
Apart from the BPA shop in Sha Tin, which starts operation today, two new branches in Cheung Chau and Ping Chau will be opened in February and March respectively. To fully address the public demand, Mr Lam said the Alliance would consider setting up more such markets and work with manufacturer to explore the possibility of providing other suitable products at bargain prices, such as daily home appliances.
Sha Tin District Officer Ms Cora Ho, Chairman of the Hong Kong Productivity Council Mr Clement Chen, BPA Sha Tin District Council member Ms Tong Po-chun, Tai Po District Council members Mr Man Chen-fai and Mr Chan Cho-leung, Islands District Council member Mr Kwong Koon-wan, BPA Sha Tin community affairs executives Mr Lee Tak-wah and Mr Chau Ping-him, BPA North District community affairs executives Mr Cheung Wai-yip all lend their support to the food discount project.