From January 29-30, The Salvation Army Chinatown Corp led a two-day fundraising event for current tsunami relief-efforts. Performances led by Chinese opera singers from the Chinese community were the highlight for last week’s event. The goal for the fundraising event was set to US$25,000. Funds collected from the event will go towards relief-efforts in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and India.
“I am very touched by the opera performers. They all came by themselves and provided their own money to perform. They did it all just for tsunami victims,” shared Captain Thomas Mui, commanding officer of the Chinatown Corp. “By the way, most of them are not Christian.”
During the Sunday-portion of the event, Captain Mui announced that the Chinatown Corp received certificates of recognition from various leading members of society including US Representative Mike Honda. Captain Mui also announced a certificate of recognition from California-state Assemblyman Leland Y. Yee on Saturday evening.
The event also attracted volunteers from the Chinatown Christian community. Volunteers wearing the distinctive red vests of The Salvation Army could be seen holding donation boxes at the front door of the theater. One volunteer, named Vincent said that the work was “meaningful.”
“I feel this is our duty,” says The Salvation Army Soldier Esther Lee. “People in the world need our help. We can’t do much, but even a little can mean a lot. This [relief] work has to continue. We must continue supporting and helping those who are unfortunate.”
Captain Mui also commented that the fundraising event was just part of a worldwide effort to provide for ongoing relief-work and reconstruction efforts in tsunami-devastated areas.
“This is a long-term project,” he said. “We are not the only unit of The Salvation Army doing fundraising. The whole country is doing it. We have The Salvation Army in Hong Kong; they are gathering funds [too]. Other units in the world are collecting donations. In this country we raised $8.2 million. Every dollar and penny will go to the tsunami-relief. There are no administration and operation costs. All the money will go toward reconstruction [efforts].” For last weekend’s event alone, Captain Mui said, the Chinatown Corp gathered no less than US$40,000.
The Salvation Army Chinatown Corp started in San Francisco in 1886. The Corp, however, would not receive its first Chinese commanding officer, Mr. Check Yee, until 1959. Mr. Check Yee retired at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1994.
Presently, Captain Thomas Mui and his wife, Captain Joy K. Mui, leads the Chinatown Corp. The Chinatown Corp will celebrate its 120th anniversary in September 2006.