Whether we’re working-from-home or facing the heavy restrictions on going out in public, this year has brought challenges for everyone. Being stuck at home or buying excess groceries due to the uncertainty of available products at supermarkets has become the new norm. However, some people are not fortunate enough to have to deal with only these problems.
For many in Hong Kong, there is the constant struggle to sustain a living in one of the most expensive cities in the world. Their daily problems might include finding ways to make money just so that they can afford a meal at McDonalds. Strict restrictions on dining in Hong Kong has made the lives of the less fortunate and impoverished communities of Hong Kong even harder – everyone needs to eat, but not everyone has a kitchen.
If you are one of those who are lucky enough to sustain a healthy living during the pandemic and want to give back to the community, here are five food charities in Hong Kong you can support during this difficult time.
Launched in 2011 by the Bo Charity Foundation, Food Angel uses the surplus food from multiple sectors of the food industry that would otherwise be disposed of as waste. Instead of ending up in a landfill, the surplus food goes through a strict process of filtering and is reused to create fresh meals, which are then redistributed to the underprivileged community throughout Hong Kong.
COVID-19 has forced the charity to take serious measures to continue operating. As a result, all their volunteer services and tours have been suspended, while their other services – like the Food Rescue Service and Food Angel Community Centre and Outreach Services – will continue under strict regulations. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Food Angel would prepare hot and fresh meals, but to adapt to the regulations set by the government, they have replaced their hot meals with cook-chill meals temporarily, which are distributed twice a week.
Similar to Food Angel, Feeding Hong Kong collects the surplus from the food industry in Hong Kong. But instead of creating new meals, they redistribute the food after freezing the surplus in a big tank-like freezer so that it is safe to eat. They redistribute the food to other charities and schools, like senior centers, crisis shelters and more. Apart from the food, Feeding Hong Kong proactively educates people in Hong Kong about how to manage food as a resource, and they also run several workshops to drive change in the community.
Although COVID-19 has had a major impact in Hong Kong, Feeding Hong Kong has continued to operate while implementing safety precautions like hygiene protocols in their warehouse, fleet and office. Apart from simply donating on their website, you can also actively volunteer to help the foundation by joining a warehouse session as a warehouse assistant or as a driver assistant.
As a warehouse assistant, you can help sort the food Feeding Hong Kong receives and pick orders for the charities they are affiliated with. Being a driver assistant includes tasks like helping the driver with loading and unloading the collections from the vehicle. In addition, Feeding Hong Kong runs “bread runs” every week, where volunteers collect surplus bread from various bakeries throughout Hong Kong and delivers it to one of their collection points to be redistributed to local charities.
The Foodlink Foundation has worked to reduce food waste while fighting hunger in Hong Kong since 2001. Like other food charities, they also collect surplus and unsold food from various restaurants, bakeries and supermarkets from all over the city to help reduce the enormous amount of food waste in Hong Kong.
The Foodlink Foundation offers many volunteer opportunities for the public to help with achieving their goal. You can donate funds on their website. Donating just HK$2.5 will provide a fresh meal to someone in need. You can also donate food or become a beneficiary by emailing the foundation. If you want to take it a step further, you can become a corporate sponsor which helps run the logistics of the charity. However, a particularly effective way to help the nonprofit organization is to start a fundraiser on their website, which helps buy fresh ingredients for hot meals that will be distributed to the impoverished community in Hong Kong.
Sunshine Action runs food drive projects where volunteers donate food (and financial donations used to buy extra food) which is packaged to be sent for distribution to the elderly society in Hong Kong. Operating since 2008, the organization also runs several charity campaigns like Hike for Hunger and Charity Dinners to raise awareness of the issue, not just in Hong Kong but in LEDC’s as well.
To get involved, you can visit their website to donate or join one of their upcoming events.
The People’s Food Bank began as a relief center for homeless citizens in Hong Kong. Since then, the charity has extended its services and offers food programs to low-income and unemployed households. Located in Sai Ying Pun, the organization welcomes volunteers to sign up to join one of their food programs as a food assistant, a delivery assistant or by packaging the food. You can also donate money here for the cause.
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