Lunar New Year Celebrations
January and February 2020 were busy travel days in Taiwan, as usual, as people prepared for and celebrated the Lunar New Year. Given that Pearl S. Buck Foundation Taiwan-Taipei (PSBF TT) employees, interpreters, and clients—economically-disadvantaged families of new immigrants and their children—were more likely to meet international travelers, PSBF TT responded to the burgeoning COVID-19 pandemic by checking one by one where they’d been and who they were in contact with during the New Year holiday. Workers learned self-management skills and shared disease prevention information with the families and kids served by the Foundation.
Celebrations Disrupted by COVID-19
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Foundation was forced to cancel an annual tradition for the families they serve. Since 2006, the Foundation has organized a Lunar New Year gathering for around 700 people, including nearly 400 kids. Everyone looks forward to this annual event where they enjoy a variety of hot dishes and take home red envelopes (monetary gifts in Chinese culture), New Year presents, and scholarships and grants for the children. As the pandemic worsened, the decision was made to instead give out meal vouchers to the families for local chain restaurants. At any time of the year, they could choose either to take the whole family to the restaurant to enjoy a hot pot or other nice dishes or to take their favorite food home.
Supporting Those in Need During the Pandemic
Due to the pandemic, some parents were forced to work fewer hours or became unemployed, making it even more financially challenging for these families who already struggle with economic hardship. Some sponsors discontinued their sponsorship as they, too, were financially impacted by COVID-19. PSBF TT staff and volunteers strongly believe that even with greater challenges, care for the children should remain unaffected. They worked harder to promote their services and looked for resources to give the general public a better understanding of the difficulties and urgent needs faced by disadvantaged new immigrant children. They discovered there was still a lot of love in society, as many of their small donors joined the sponsorship program to support the kids’ future.
Collaborations for Success
Pearl S. Buck Foundation Taipei, Taiwan continues to collaborate with its colleagues at Pearl S. Buck International and the branches in Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, and South Korea to create a synergy of engagement and support especially during these difficult times. The staff and volunteers at Pearl S. Buck Foundation Taiwan-Taipei also hope to work together with all of those who care, fighting the pandemic with the greatest power—love.