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Kowloon Shangri-La invites families from The Hub Hong Kong for taste of holiday cheer, in partnership with Operation Santa Claus

South China Morning Post logo South China Morning Post 06/12/2021 Joyce Yip
  • Shangri-La treat families to doughnut-making workshop with its chief baker and afternoon tea in its swanky Lobby Lounge
  • Families receive support from charity The Hub Hong Kong, one of the beneficiaries of the Post and RTHK's annual Operation Santa Claus fundraising drive

The luxurious Kowloon Shangri-La hotel this year invited three underprivileged families to come by for a taste of holiday cheer - literally.

In partnership with Operation Santa Claus (OSC) - an annual charity drive organised by the Post and public broadcaster RTHK since 1988 - the hotel last month treated three families supported by The Hub Hong Kong to a festive doughnut-making workshop with its chief baker and afternoon tea in its swanky Lobby Lounge.

The Hub Hong Kong - one of OSC's 18 beneficiaries this year - offers assistance in education, childhood development and well-being to underprivileged families.

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For nearly two decades, including this year, the Kowloon Shangri-La has donated money and organised fundraisers for OSC. But due to the events of the past few years, the last time beneficiaries of the charities took part in an event at the hotel was in 2018, when they put on a choir performance at its Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

But new manager Ghislaine LE, who arrived just a year ago, said she was grateful for the opportunity to restart the tradition of giving.

"I arrived in December last year - restaurants were closed, we didn't have the lighting ceremony, everything was room service. So this year, I wanted to make it special since everything is nearly back to normal," she said. "I wanted people to forget about everything that's been going on and just be in a festive mood."

To do so, LE leveraged one of the Shangri-La Group's strengths: pastries.

At last month's workshop, parents and children as young as seven made doughnuts from scratch before taking afternoon tea.

© Provided by South China Morning Post

"We're good in our bakery products, and maybe it's my French side, I do love [pastries]. And food is always about love and sharing," LE said. "It was also [the beneficiaries'] first time to have afternoon tea at a hotel, so they were so thrilled and delighted. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for them."

Looking forward, LE said she wanted to revive pre-pandemic charity initiatives such as encouraging staff to volunteer at care homes for the elderly. She said the Shangri-La Group was looking to bring all its properties in Hong Kong - including the Island Shangri-La, Hotel Jen and Kerry Hotel - together in doing good for the community.

"We just want to give and do good, and we're trying to find new ways to do it. If the activity can't be done in the hotel, we'll do it elsewhere so the connection is still there," she said.

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This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.

Copyright (c) 2021. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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