Across China: Volunteers bring family warmth to orphans

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-11 16:14:12|Editor: mmm
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JINAN, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- Xiaojie who just turned 13 years old had one of her three wishes come true -- to have a real hamburger, which she had only seen on TV.

When her volunteer parents took her to a burger shop, they shed tears when Xiaojie asked: "Is the paper wrapping on the hamburger eatable or not?"

Volunteers Wang Xiaofeng and his wife found the girl was left to live with her 70-year-old grandmother in a small village in Linyi City in east China's Shandong Province after her parents died of illness.

"Can I call you 'mom' from now on? It has been more than six years since they left, and I want a mom more than ever," said Xiaojie, when she first met the couple.

The couple are members of the city's Volunteer Service Corps for Orphans and Disadvantaged Children, founded on April 19. The organization surveyed over 9,000 villages in Linyi and found over 5,500 orphans, most in dire need for family-like warmth.

Wang said he and his wife decided to take care of Xiaojie by frequently inviting her to their home in town, bathing her, buying her new clothes and treating her with good meals.

With the couple's care, Xiaojie is getting more and more optimistic. She spoke of her three wishes that have been long inside her heart -- to buy some books, to take a tour in town and to have a real hamburger.

"We could not imagine that she had such simple wishes," said Wang.

"Hardly any of the orphans are in need of food nowadays, as government assistance can ensure their basic needs. Material donations are not as important as before," said Xu Jun, founder and leader of the charity group.

"Instead of money and gifts, we emphasize more on spiritual support for these children," Xu said.

He said the charity organization needs volunteer families to keep orphans company until they are admitted to college.

"We find many ways to help the children's relatives such as getting them jobs. It is our hope that the orphans can stick with their relatives and live better lives," said Gu Shengyuan, a volunteer with the group.

Its volunteers have contacted and given support to more than 3,500 orphans and poor children in the city. On average, the group, with more than 6,000 volunteers, including teachers, doctors, government officials and businessmen, receives more than 600 applications for volunteer activities every month.

"By the end of 2019, we will get in touch with all 5,500 orphans and poor children in Linyi, bringing the warmth of family to them," said Xu.

"We believe that our mode of charity is replicable in other parts of China and even the world. It is our ultimate hope that there would not be a single orphan without the care of a home all across the world," said Xu.

Xu Futian, chair of the Linyi Charity Federation, said the orphan charity group has provided effective care to give spiritual support to the orphans, allowing them to lead happier and fuller lives.