Love Thermometer Tower recorded as high as 114.5 degrees Celsius amid the COVID-19 crisis. The Community Chest of Korea announced on Monday that two-month charity campaign during the end and beginning of the year earned 400.9 billion won, higher by 114.5% than the target amount of 350 billion won. The annual amount of charity hit a record high of 846.2 billion won. As high as 30 percent came out of individuals’ own pockets although businesses played a bigger part.
Individual donators demonstrated an outstanding level of philanthropy in other charity activities as well. The volume of donations made by individuals, which were provided to those in need via Seoul City’s committee to evaluate donations, increased by five times from 1.2 billion won in 2019 to 5.8 billion won last year. International relief group Save the Children received 63 billion won last year, a 13% increase from the previous year, from individual philanthropists.
A Seoul citizen in his or her 50s who is physically handicapped donated 20 packages of rice by saying, "I want to repay all the assistances provided when I was struggling.” A man in his 60s from Busan who offered 10 million won with expenses regarding her mother's funeral excluded from condolence money; a senior citizen over 70 who donated 500,000 won that he earned for two years by collecting scrap paper; an elementary school student who broke his piggy bank to send 700 hot packs; a man in his 30s who left 100 face masks in secret; and many other warm-hearted individuals used every tool at their disposal to chip in to spread love and generosity.
The Korean National Red Cross said that as of last year 1.96 million individuals joined in blood donation, a significant increase of more than 20,000 donators from the previous year while a fewer number of organizations took part in the blood donation campaign. Such a voluntary wave of charity comes as one of the greatest news ever heard in an era where there is concern that the spread of COVID-19 caused the curve of bipolarization to draw K-shaped graph lines, which signifies a phenomenon in which the poorer get poorer. Only the lower 40 percent of the income bracket suffered a lower income according to last year's third quarter data. If you look more closely at the number of new employees that recorded the largest drop in 22 years, temporary workers decreased by 410,000 while the number of permanent employees rose.
A photo of a middle-aged man on a snowy day in front of Seoul Station was featured in a newspaper article to touch the hearts of many people. He was seen in the photo handing over his coat and gloves to a homeless person who asked him to buy a cup of coffee amid a cold spell. The power of love and warmth that many people chip in is greater than the sum of its parts. Their earnest heart has always leaned toward those who in need of help. Even the COVID-19 pandemic failed to demotivate philanthropy but rather provided an opportunity to encourage charity activities. We are reminded of the tradition of helping each other in the face of hardship and adversity, which gave our ancestors the power to overcome whatever claimed their life. The dose of a love has just been injected to allow us to recover from an illness and resist the viral crisis with valor and strength.