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Donations give self-employed locals a needed boost

Mar 03,2020
이미지뷰
Left: Empty streets in Jungang Market in Pohang, North Gyeongsang. As of Monday 5 p.m., the number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus infection increased to 28 in Pohang. [NEWS1] Right: Daegu Restaurant Daily Facebook page promotes Bangkok Bangkok, a Thai restaurant in Jincheon-dong, Daegu. [FACEBOOK]
A campaign led by collective youth organizations in Daegu has launched a campaign to collect donations to support self-employed people struggling amid the economic fallout of the coronavirus outbreak.

Youth Hope Community Daegu on Sunday launched a “1339 Fundraising Campaign,” modeled after the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 1339 hotline.

Spelling out the numbers in the campaign’s name, the organizers are urging each “one” person to donate 1,339 won ($1.12) and encourage three acquaintances to participate in the campaign. Therefore, after three days, nine new people will be participating in the fundraising.

Various fund-raisers, rent-reduction campaigns and promotional activities are proliferating online to support the self-employed locals.

In Daegu, where more than 2,700 people have been confirmed infected with the coronavirus, many landlords are joining the rent-reduction campaigns. The campaigns have appeared in Jeonju, North Jeolla, as well as at a three-story building in Soosung District in Daegu, where the landlord cut 13 million won worth off tenants’ rent last month.

Pohang Mom Playground Naver Cafe, a Naver online community with about 86,000 members in Pohang, North Gyeongsang, opened a temporary bulletin board for the self-employed last Tuesday.

“This bulletin board is for the self-employed who are struggling from reduced sales due to the new coronavirus,” a member of Pohang Mom Playground Naver Cafe said.

Using this online bulletin board, stores that sell perishable foods can promote their stores’ locations, delivery status and contacts. There were about 20 posts promoting restaurants struggling with excess food due to the spread of the new coronavirus.

“It was hard to handle the ingredients piled up in the refrigerator as sales declined,” one shop owner posted on Pohang Mom Playground Naver Cafe. “But after using promotional bulletin boards and lowering the price, we saw some increases in sales.”

Inventory management is another challenge for the self-employed.

A Facebook page with 500,000 followers, Daegu Restaurant Daily, is helping local restaurants in Daegu through promotional postings. A post on Feb. 24 mentioned an elderly street vendor in a traditional market seemed to be unfamiliar with opportunities available online. Thanks to the post and the generosity of Daegu citizens, all the vendor’s fruits sold soon sold out.

Restaurant owners are also making donations.

Some restaurant owners on Daegu Restaurant Daily asked customers to pay with masks and hand sanitizer instead of money, so that the items can be donated to people in Daegu suffering from mask shortages. Other restaurants said they will match their food sales with donations to medical workers.

“Many self-employed in Daegu are having a hard time due to the new coronavirus, but I believe this will pass and we will overcome,” said Ha Keun-hong, who runs Daegu Restaurant Daily.

The self-employed are themselves making donations to help the medical staff as well.

Night Market employees at Chilsung Market in Buk District, Daegu, delivered 200 dishes to Daegu Medical Center on Saturday to offer free meals for medical personnel. From an eel restaurant in Ilsan, Gyeonggi, 1,000 bowls of eel soup were sent to medical workers in Daegu. The emergency room of Kyungpook National University Chilgok Hospital received fried chicken, tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), bread and herbal medicine.

“February was a tough month, but also a chance for all of us to come together to fight and overcome the new coronavirus,” said an official of Youth Hope Community Daegu. “From the citizens’ support and generosity, Daegu, North Gyeongsang and Korea will defeat the coronavirus crisis.”

BY JIN CHANG-IL [kim.yeonah@joongang.co.kr]