The coming holiday months can sometimes be overwhelmed by a frenzy of spending – decorations, gifts, new outfits, feasts. But during the holiday season, it is as important as ever to reflect on what we really celebrate for and to remember those less fortunate.
From 27 November to 6 December, there will be an photography installation in PMQ sponsored by the globally renowned charity The Poverty Line with support of the local charity, Food Angel. The installation, #thepovertyline, is an inspiring collaboration between photographer Stefen Chow and economist Hui Yi that explores what poverty means in different countries. The global project attempts to show what it means to be poor by taking photos of the daily amount of food you can buy if your income is below the poverty line.
What does poverty look like in Hong Kong?
One in five people in Hong Kong live below the poverty line. The poverty line changes from country to country, but in Hong Kong that means they live on less than $3,275 per month. If you think about that number in terms of daily expenditure on food, it comes out to $25.25 a day. Even more disheartening is that Hong Kong has the highest income gap between the rich and the poor of any developed economy.
The PMQ installation includes 3,000 photographs collected from the Hong Kong community, but the project aims to inspire others to create and share their own #thepovertyline images to help raise even more global awareness across social media platforms.
Here’s how it works:
- Buy $25.25 worth of any food from a market or supermarket (not restaurant or fast-food place). Again, this represents the amount of food a person at the poverty line could buy in a single day in Hong Kong.
- Photograph the food on a local newspaper. (Check this page out for some examples).
- E-mail the photograph to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and a quick thought.
- Post your photograph to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform you may use with the hashtage #thepovertyline #HongKong to broaden the discussion about poverty and food choices in Hong Kong.
Educating yourself and raising awareness is just the first step. While social media can be an important tool for spreading information, it’s important to not become complacent by just clicking ‘like’ or ‘share.’ Yes, social media is powerful, but our actions are, too.
Below are a few charities on our radar that you can get involved in this holiday season:
Donate Your Winter Clothing
Christian Action is collecting gentle used winter clothing for refugee men, women, children and babies in Hong Kong at various locations. Please bring only clothes in suitable conditions and also large shopping bags. Items may include winter jackets, shirts, shoes, hats, mittens, scarves, jumpers, sweaters, pants, skirts, dresses, new underwear and socks, baby clothing, and shoes.
Now – 25 November, Monday – Saturday, 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Christian Action, New Horizon Building, 2 Kwun Tong Road, Kowloon
Now – 25 November, Monday – Sunday, 24 hours, please call 9280 7945 before delivering
Flact C, 4th Floor, Tung Hing Mansions, 41 Belcher’s Street, Kennedy Town
25 – 27 November, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Centre for Refugees, 16/F, Block E, Chungking Mansons, 36-44 Nathan Road, TST
2 – 3 December, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., sorted clothes only—please ask for instructions
St. Andrew’s Church, 138 Nathan Road, TST
Volunteer with Food Angel or Feeding Hong Kong
Food Angels motto is “Waste Not, Hunger Not.” Since 2011, they’ve served Hong Kong by rescuing edible surplus from different sectors of the food industry that would have otherwise been disposed as waste. They then prepare the food as nutritious hot meals in their central kitchen and redistribute them to serve the underprivileged communities in Hong Kong.
How can you help?
- Donate Food: cooked food, fresh food, canned food, seasonings—it’s all welcome
- Donate Funds
- Volunteer: if you’re over 17, consider volunteering in one of Food Angel’s two kitchens (Kowloon and Chai Wan). You can sign up as a group, making it perfect for a group of friends or family. You can also volunteer by serving hot meals in the Kowloon Community Centre or delivering hot meals and food packs.
Feeding Hong Kong follows a similar philosophy and path to Food Angels, making sure surplus food is channeled to Hong Kong’s underprivileged community instead of landfills.
How can you help?
Operation Santa Claus
For the past 27 years, The South China Morning Post and Radio Television Hong Kong’s Operation Santa Claus has grown from substantially into one of the city’s largest charitable campaigns. Operation Santa Claus encompasses citywide events hosted by an array of corporations, clubs, schools and individuals.
Here are some highlights to this year’s campaign:
- Sleigh Ride Competition (21 November, 10:300 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.)
- Taikoo Place Santathon (5 December, 2015, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.)
- Get a full list of events here.
This list is by no means expansive, but a good place to start. We suggest keeping your eyes and ears peeled for more opportunities. There are lots of efforts to make the holiday season inclusive for everybody throughout the city. Make sure you check the bulletin boards or flyers in local restaurants, cafes or community centres.