23 Mar 2011
In just over one week, employees of Cathay Pacific and its subsidiaries have donated close to HK$2 million to help the people of Japan.
The airline launched its Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Appeal on 15 March and has pledged to match, dollar for dollar, all money raised by staff. The appeal closes on 31 March. The Swire Group Charitable Trust has also pledged to give HK$1 million to this fundraising initiative. All funds raised will be donated to the Red Cross to help with the organisation’s relief effort in affected regions in Japan.
The main focus of Cathay Pacific’s relief effort has been two donation booths set up at its headquarters’ complex manned by Japanese cabin crew and other staff volunteers.
Flight Purser Akiko Sanada had a close friend whose parents and grandparents had to be evacuated from Fukushima. "I am quite surprised and very happy that so many people donated so much money," she said. Inflight Services Manager Mariko Yoshidome said she was very touched that so many staff of other nationalities have shown their support for the appeal. "The Japanese community wants to take the initiative to see what we can do for those who need help," she added.
Other efforts to boost the appeal include a staff charity sale of inflight items and the sale of commemorative stamps to mark 100 years of powered flight in Hong Kong. Proceeds from the auction of a giant rugby ball created for the Hong Kong Sevens will be donated to the Red Cross to help its relief efforts in three earthquake-affected areas - Japan, China’s Yunnan Province and Christchurch in New Zealand.
Cathay Pacific and sister airline Dragonair are also donating blankets and other useful items to help the relief effort. The first consignment of 3,600 blankets was shipped over the weekend and has already been received at a distribution centre in Tochigi prefecture. Another 4,500 blankets will be flown out soon and the airline has also sent 10,000 towels and 10,000 pairs of socks.
In a further boost for the relief effort, from 24 March to 8 April all donations to the Cathay Pacific and Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF’s "Change for Good" inflight fundraising programme will be channelled to the Japan Committee for UNICEF to assist its relief efforts in the affected areas. Dragonair will also participate in the “Change for Good” programme over the same period.