ParknShop and Wellcome to dish out cash coupons to the needy in exchange for wage subsidies

For the toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on local businesses and industries, the effects have been doubly felt by those in need. ParknShop and Wellcome will give out food coupons and other perks to shoppers from October in exchange for their wage subsidies under the government’s coronavirus relief scheme.

ParknShop Hong Kong said it had applied the second phase of the Employee Supporting Scheme (ESS), and its proposal with measures to give back to the underprivileged had also been accepted by the Hong Kong government. It will distribute HK$200 food coupons to each beneficiary, including the low-income family, elderly and disabled persons. It is estimated that over 200,000 people will be benefited.

The supermarket's NGO partners will help identify the beneficiaries based on individual needs and then distribute the food coupons starting from early October. Those partners include the Hong Kong Young Women’s Christian Association, Food Angel, Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Welfare Council, Yang Memorial Methodist Social Service, to name a few.

“During the pandemic, the surging unemployment rate affected the livelihood of the underprivileged. We hope to spread our love and care to 18 districts in Hong Kong by giving out food coupons valued at over HK$40 million," said Malina Ngai, group COO of A.S. Watson Group and CEO of A.S. Watson (Asia & Europe).

Wellcome supermarkets will roll out cash coupons, meal vouchers and cash donations worth of HK$120 million to the needy. It will also keep the price of 300 daily necessities unchanged for six months.

The two supermarket chains promised to give back to the community and the needy after the government made it a condition of their applications for the latest round of wage subsidies under its latest round of employment support scheme. Both supermarket chains applied for the latest round of wage subsidies covering September to November already, but have yet to reveal how much they were granted.