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On a mission to deliver mooncakes among seniors

IN China, mooncakes are traditionally given to family and friends during the Mid-Autumn Festival, but this year local businesses and charities are cooperating to collect mooncakes to distribute to the elderly in Shanghai.

The first "Moon Represents My Heart" drive aims to collect hundreds of mooncakes from across the city and deliver them to two elderly-care facilities in Putuo and Zhabei districts.

The Shanghai Charity Foundation, therapeutic resort Dragonfly and gift company I Care Liwu will join forces with volunteer organization Bean Shanghai to collect the mooncakes.

The project started on September 8 and collection of the mooncakes will run until Sunday. The cakes will then be distributed to the Shanghai Putuo Social Welfare Institution and the Shanghai Dongfeng Zhijiang Seniors Home next Tuesday.

Volunteers from Bean Shanghai will collect mooncakes from offices around Shanghai or they can be dropped off at any of five Dragonfly locations in the city.

The mooncakes will then be delivered to recipients at the homes in time for the Mid-Autumn Festival which falls next Wednesday.

People who donate their unwanted or extra mooncakes can also receive a complimentary 100-yuan voucher at Dragonfly and a 100-yuan gift voucher at I Care Liwu.

"We have already had a very positive response and we want to make this a yearly event," Dragonfly Founder Georgie Yam says. "A lot of older people are alone, their children or grandchildren may have gone abroad or be working somewhere else. For Chinese this is one of the most important festivals."

The organizers have set a target of 250 mooncakes but can gather more if the drive proves popular.

Laurence Hsu, executive manager of Shanghai Charity Foundation's Foreign Affairs Department, says they deal with more than 400 seniors' homes in Shanghai.

The city's biggest registered fundraiser provides support for a number of programs for elderly home residents.

Hsu says the mooncakes will go to residents aged 70 or above.

"Mooncakes are traditionally shared among family, but because some of these elderly people may be alone, they consider others in the seniors' home as their family," Hsu says.


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