Good Samaritans want to remain anonymous

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Good Samaritans want to remain anonymous

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On Dec. 20, two sisters in their 50s visited the Busan office of the Community Chest of Korea (CCK), a major national charity with 16 branches across the country. The ladies took out an envelope stuffed with 10 million won ($9,500) in cash.

They had just buried their mother, the sisters said, and the mourners’ contributions outstripped the costs of the funeral. They wanted to donate the balance to charity. It’s what their mother would have wanted, they said.

“And we’d like to have our mother’s name as a donor, not ours,” the sisters insisted. They asked that the donation be earmarked for elderly people in need of medical care.

Since the launch of a year-end charity drive on Nov. 20, the Community Chest of Korea has received a number of large contributions from donors who wish to remain anonymous.

On Nov. 26, 100 million won was wired to the CCK with no information about the donor except the name on the bank account. That was enough for the CCK to track him down. They discovered their anonymous benefactor was a man in his 80s living in Jeonju, North Jeolla. When the CCK called to express its gratitude, he insisted on no publicity.

When Park Wan-soo, director of the CCK’s Jeonju branch, visited the man’s house to beg him to join the Honor Society, whose members are donors of 100 million won or more, the man refused.

He didn’t want any personal glory, he said.

The Cheongju office of the Community Chest in North Chungcheong had a similar story of a woman in her 80s who donated a 100 million won check on Nov. 21.

“I came to the South from North Korea during the [1950-53] Korean War on my own and settled in Cheongju,” the woman was quoted as saying by the CCK. “Many have offered to help me at times of challenge and I have always wanted to repay their kindness.” The woman, who supported herself and family by running a vegetable stall at a street market, became the 65th member of the Honor Society.

As of yesterday, the charity, which has set a 2013 goal of raising 311 billion won by the end of January, had received about 154 billion won in donations.

BY LEE SEO-JUN [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]

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