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Cold, Cold Heart? Not in Shanghai

The name of the event certainly had a touch of irony, but the steadily falling snow in Shanghai didn't freeze people's hearts for helping those less fortunate.

Thousands took part in the annual one-day event, "True Love under the Blue Sky," organized by the Shanghai Charity Foundation, with the aim of aiding needy families as the Spring Festival approaches.

About 20,000 volunteers hit the streets to collect donations in the snow.

Most volunteers were middle-school and college students. Shixi High School had two classes of about 80 students collecting donations on Nanjing Road W.

"I wouldn't blame my students if they stayed away from the event due to the heavy snow, but everyone turned up," said a teacher from the school surnamed Liu. "I'm quite touched ... even a student running a fever came this morning."

Al Zequeira, a visitor from Los Angeles who made a donation on Nanjing Road, said it was wonderful that so many people took part in a charity event in such bad weather.

In the morning, about 100 hardy people, many from far-flung areas, visited Jiangwan Stadium in Yangpu District where a temporary "charity supermarket" was set up, with proceeds going towards the cause. A woman surnamed Wang bought 600 yuan (US$83.20) worth of products in the supermarket with two friends.

"We are from Putuo District, and got up at 6 AM," she said. "We take part in the event every year. It's a win-win situation to find something I need and donate to charity."

In the afternoon, more than 1.73 million yuan was raised at an auction for needy cataract patients, deaf and mute children, and kids with congenital heart problems.

More than 100 bidders competed fiercely for more than 40 items, such as Chinese paintings and calligraphy, seal-carving works and decorations.

Bidder Roger Lin said he loves to make contributions to society via charity auctions. "I think it's comforting to know where my donations go."

(Shanghai Daily January 28, 2008)

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