Philanthropic vegetable vendor Chen Shu-chu retires

Taipei, Renowned philanthropic vendor Chen Shu-chu ((???), who sold vegetables at the Central Market in Taitung City for more than half a century, has retired and moved to Kaohsiung, Taitung Magistrate Justin Huang (???) confirmed Thursday.

"I'm less worried now that she has made this decision," Huang told CNA on the phone. "It's not a surprise that she retired."

According to Huang, Chen, 67, fell ill before the Lunar New Year holiday and told him that she was considering quitting the business when he visited her.

"I encouraged her to retire, so that she could take a good long rest," Huang said, adding that she now lives in Kaohsiung.

Chen Chia-ming (???), Chen's younger brother, also confirmed news of her retirement.

"She called me a few days ago, telling me she was going to retire and asking me to take over her vegetable stand," Chen Chia-ming said. "I'm sorting it out and will hand it over to my son after May."

"Since falling ill from appendicitis in early February, she has been resting at a temple in Kaohsiung," Chen Chia-ming said. "She was rushed to hospital and had an emergency operation."

"Although her life was saved, she has yet to fully recover and that's why her vegetable stand has been closed since then," he added.

Chen became a household name across Taiwan after her good deeds were brought to light by foreign and local media.

She was honored as one of the 100 most influential figures by Time Magazine in 2010 for contributing over NT$10 million (US$340,000) to different charitable causes. In the same year, she was also named one the 48 heroes of philanthropy by Forbes Asia.

In 2012, Chen was one of six winners of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for helping the poor, receiving a US$50,000 cash prize, which she donated to the Taitung branch of Mackay Memorial Hospital.

Chen Shu-chu's mother died during childbirth when she was at elementary school because her family was unable to afford for her to give birth at a hospital. To help her father raise her younger siblings, Chen started to sell vegetable at the stand he left her at the age of 13.

Chen, who has never married and leads a frugal life, has donated every penny she earned over the past two decades to charity, strongly motivated by a desire to help people as her family was helped by others when she was younger.

"Money serves its end only when it can help people in need," she once said, adding that she feels an indescribable happiness whenever she donates money.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel