THE Goddess of Mercy Temple in Penang is upping the amount of aid for the needy this Chinese New Year.
The annual giving of ang pows to the elderly and the poor saw a good deal more smiles this time because instead of the customary RM20 in every red packet, the temple’s board of trustees gave RM30.
They also increased the number of recipients from 800 to 1,200.
Board chairman Datuk Lam Wu Chong said the giveaway at Penang Chinese Town Hall also marked the 220th anniversary of the temple.
“This is quite a special year for us, ” said Lam.
Organized by the temple’s board of trustees, the aid presentation last Sunday drew a steady stream of senior citizens from various ethnic groups.
Many of them waited outside the hall from as early as 8am, more than an hour before the start of the event.
Wong Heng Nun, 58, could not hide his delight after receiving his red packet.
He said he was thankful to the temple for sharing a bit of joy with ordinary people like him.
“This year, more people came to get the ang pows and no one was turned away, ” he said.
A. Arumugam, 59, who lives in Weld Quay, hoped more associations would emulate the temple’s charitable ways.
“This is a good effort. RM30 may not be that much for some but for me, it helps, ” said Arumugam.
The temple trustees also gave financial aid to 20 charity bodies in Penang.
Lam said the associations included Malaysian Buddhist Association, Malaysian Buddhist Institute and Maha-Mantra League of Devotees, which were all receiving aid from the temple for the first time.
“To mark Chinese New Year and our temple’s anniversary, we increased the number of charity bodies on our list from 17 to 20, ” he said, adding that the temple hoped the donations would benefit more people in need.
The charities received cheques of between RM1,000 to RM3,000 each.
Lam said RM36,000 was given through the ang pows and a total of RM26,500 was handed to the charities.
Malaysian Buddhist Association representative Thean Yoon Fui praised the temple for the aid.
Ramakrishna Ashrama Penang treasurer Raman Athappan said the temple had helped a lot of people regardless of ethnicity.
Sister Marie Antoinette from Little Sisters of the Poor said the association depended on charity and it was laudable for religious associations such as the Goddess of Mercy Temple to render financial assistance.
“We provide a home away from home for the elderly.
“Financial aid can make a big difference for us, ” she said.
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