The jobless and underemployed will be sent takeaways via online food delivery platforms in a new food assistance program launched by the Jockey Club, which service providers say is a more dignified approach than handing out food on the street.
The Food Express service targets citizens in need, especially those who are taking care of homebound family members or living somewhere without cooking space.
Six non-governmental organizations that partner with HKJC will screen applicants, who need to pass a low-income test and cannot be beneficiaries of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance.
Applicants will receive prepaid accounts on Deliveroo, foodpanda or Uber Eats.
A food allowance worth HK$50 will be provided to each person per day and a HK$80 delivery subsidy will be distributed to each household per week for eight weeks.
A participant living alone will receive a total of HK$3,440 from the program, with a two-person household receiving HK$6,240.
The program, along with HKJC's three other food assistance services, is expected to benefit more than 70,000 people.
Online applications started yesterday, and one can also apply at the NGOs.
"This is a revolutionary service with creative thinking," said Yvonne Chak Tung-ching from Hong Kong Christian Service, one of the participating NGOs.
"We have this traditional impression that underprivileged families have to line up on the street or at social welfare centers to get free food. But now they can order online, just like everyone else. Not only is it more convenient, it also gives back dignity to those in need of help," she said.
Chak added that more people are suffering from "transitional poverty" after losing their jobs or have less work recently.
Social worker Suki Lau Yuen-ki from St James' Settlement - another NGO partner - said it is common for people facing financial challenges due to the pandemic to avoid asking for help until friends or colleagues persuade them to do so.