Here’s how you can help make a difference over the festive season with volunteering opportunities, where to donate in Hong Kong, charity fundraising initiatives and more…
Looking to give back over Christmas and the holidays? As the festive season approaches, it’s more important than ever to spread the holiday cheer and support our local community. From volunteering at food banks and supporting charity initiatives to fostering a furry friend or simply shopping for stocking fillers at local homegrown businesses, here are just a few ways that you can get involved and help give back to the city. Ahead we’ve rounded up ways to help make a difference, including volunteering opportunities, where to donate in Hong Kong and more…
The strain of Hong Kong’s fast-moving shopping industry has hit even the biggest, most prominent brands (how many closures can you count — we know we’ve lost some of our favourite outposts over the past couple of years!). So it’s no surprise that smaller businesses may be struggling to recover losses and stay afloat. That’s why it’s so important to band together and show our support for homegrown local businesses!
Shopping online, especially on big brand marketplaces, can feel easy and the lure of free shipping is always a bonus — but we believe in Hong Kong retailers! Not only is shopping locally a great way to give back to the community, it’s also a surefire way to avoid fast fashion companies that are causing havoc on the environment and withholding pay from workers.
Whether you’re looking for stocking fillers, luxurious beauty gifts, something festive, or a trinket that doubles as an ode to #homekong — local brands (including sustainable fashion brands!) stock it all! Plus, you could always gift restaurant gift cards, boutique homeware vouchers and passes to Hong Kong’s health and wellness scene that can be used in the near future; it’s a great way to give local businesses some much-needed love and revenue this year.
Read More: 50 Local Hong Kong Brands You Need To Know
Christmas Products To Shop From Local HK Brands:
- The Lion Rock Press is proudly supporting Mother’s Choice for its 11th year running, with 100 percent of the profits from its new-for-2023 Christmas Cards, Gift Wrap and Tags going directly to the organisation. The brand will also continue its support of the Hong Kong Biodiversity Museum, which is passionate about promoting environmental education and Hong Kong’s natural world.
- The Society for the Relief of Disabled Children is also selling Greeting Cards to support its work to create and fund medical, surgical, rehabilitation and educational services for differently-abled children in Hong Kong.
Volunteer Your Time
We’re not always in a position where we can lend monetary help but we might have the ability to lend our time this holiday season. So many charitable organisations and initiatives in Hong Kong would truly benefit from an extra pair of hands. Aside from time, you could also prove to be particularly useful as cause-driven organisations are often looking for people to support with marketing, design, legal work, education, translation, event management and fundraising.
Check out this list of inspiring, worthwhile charities and organisations that may need a little extra assistance this time of year.
Donate Food And Hygiene Supplies
According to a recent survey, income inequality in our city has soared since 2019, and Hong Kong’s poorest now earn nearly 60 times less than the richest. Food often becomes the last priority for the underprivileged, who often first cover other expenses such as rent, transportation, medical bills, and education costs.
Reduce food waste by supporting local charities striving to feed Hong Kong — it’s a win-win! Perhaps you stocked up on cans earlier in the year or were gifted too many Christmas treats. Whatever it may be, various organisations are working tirelessly throughout the year to collect, sort, store and redistribute surplus food items to those in need.
Feeding Hong Kong is running its annual Santa Sack Food Drive calling for key staples — essential food items like rice, noodles, cooking oil, and canned food, which are in high demand in the community — to make its Festive Food Parcels, which can support 10 extra meals for a two-person family. This year, the food bank is looking to donate and distribute at least 5,000 Santa Sacks to feed those in need. You can also donate $150, which will help Feeding Hong Kong to source, pack and deliver one special food pack.
Other than food, the non-profit also welcomes casual chain restaurant vouchers. Have a look at its volunteer calendar here to see which areas you might be able to help in.
If you would like to donate multiple items, be sure to also get in touch with these Hong Kong organisations and food banks below:
- HandsOn Hong Kong — Mobilising Hongkongers, running about 200 volunteer activities each month to support under-resourced local charities and the vulnerable groups they serve. www.handsonhongkong.org
- Foodlink Foundation Limited — A charity connecting the supply directly to the demand, collecting safe-to-eat surplus food from F&B outlets all over the city and delivering it to those in need. foodlinkfoundation.org
- ImpactHK — Working with people experiencing homelessness to help them settle in a safe home, restore their mental and physical well-being, build their self-esteem and social capital, and discover their purpose. impacthk.org
- Food Angel — Rescues edible surplus food (that would otherwise be disposed of as waste), prepares it as nutritious meals and redistributes it to underprivileged communities in Hong Kong. www.foodangel.org.hk
- St. James’ Settlement’s People’s Food Bank — Providing short-term and long-term food assistance as well as hot meal services for the elderly, milk powder and boxes of milk to deprived children, nutrition packs and more. www.sjs.org.hk
Take Part In Local Christmas Initiatives
Angels for Children
Angels for Children — formerly known as Angels for Orphans — raises awareness and funds for charities in Hong Kong, Cambodia and Indonesia that work tirelessly on the ground to improve the lives of the many children in their care. Its annual Secret Santa gift drive is over but you can still purchase a Book Voucher or School Shoes Voucher for donation, or even gift cash.
Box of Hope
Box of Hope’s mission is to give a child in extreme poverty the chance to experience the joy of receiving a gift. To support this, schools, businesses and individuals all over Hong Kong (including Team Sassy!) actively get involved each year to put together special boxes of toys and personal items (such as toothbrushes and soap) that will then be distributed over the festive period. The 2023 campaign has already ended, but this is a good one to keep in mind for next year!
Operation Santa Claus
Operation Santa Claus is an annual fundraising campaign jointly organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK which hosts a variety of events in aid of select beneficiaries. This year’s fundraising Christmas events include charity auctions, workout sessions, street fairs, pre-loved designer wear pop-ups and more. The campaign also accepts direct donations through its website.
Charity Initiatives We’re Keeping An Eye Out For
- Local social enterprise Cookie Smiles’ Gingerbread for Good fundraising campaign, which was in partnership with LANDMARK and 23 celebrated chefs last year. cookiesmiles.com.hk
- Zubin Crackers by The Zubin Foundation, usually created by Hong Kong’s diverse youth, with proceeds going towards The Zubin Foundation’s work for Hong Kong’s ethnic minorities in mental health, support for women and girls, and providing jobs and opportunities. www.zubinfoundation.org
Foster A Furry Friend For The Holidays
Animal rescue shelters are always looking for people who can sign up as foster families and relieve some of the pressure off kennels and shelters, giving them space for another dog or cat while you help your furry friends actively socialise!
There is no shortage of charities to choose from — our sister site Sassy Mama Hong Kong has a great list of animal charities and rescue organisations. If you’re interested, be sure to get in touch and ask any questions before filling out a standard questionnaire. Warning: exposure to belly rubs, wet noses and slobbery chops could result in long-term adoption (welcome to the “foster fail” family!).
Bear in mind that you may not be able to specify which cat or dog you would like to foster, and it will heavily depend on the individual needs of the animal (as well as the space you have available for that breed).
Already adopted a dog? Consider changing up your pup’s food to a brand that gives back to shelters in Hong Kong. For every 2kg ordered, dog food subscription service Buddy Bites donates 1kg to its shelter partners! Don’t forget to consult your veterinarian first if you have any allergy or food intolerance concerns.
Give The Gift Of Giving
Gift a charity eGift Card with Charitable Choice, where your recipient chooses the charity! You’ll just need two minutes to log on and select your gift card design, the value intended and the recipient’s address details. Once it arrives in the post, they’ll be able to choose which initiative or charity they would like to support with the money (or you can also select an organisation on their behalf). You can also send a couple of pre-loaded cards to yourself.
A Hong Kong-based online social enterprise, Twopresents allows you to host a virtual celebration where you invite others to contribute towards a gift fund, of which a percentage will be donated to a charity of your choice. View the charities here.
Make A Blood Donation
One single blood donation can save the lives of three or more people. If you’re in good health, weigh over 41kg and are over the age of 16 (and below 66), this guide is here to help you navigate all the specifics — like what to expect and where to go.
Hong Kong Red Cross has a daily target of 1,100 donations per day, with the need for blood more prevalent than before. With that in mind, the Hong Kong Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service is doing all it can to ensure blood safety and the safety of those donating.
Editor’s Note: “How To Give Back To Hong Kong This Christmas” was originally published by Lexi Davey and was most recently updated in December 2023 by Team Sassy. Have a Christmas charity initiative you think we missed? Get in touch with us at [email protected]
Main image courtesy of HandsOn Hong Kong via Instagram, image 1 courtesy of b/major shoes via Instagram, image 2 courtesy of The Lion Rock Press, image 3 courtesy of HandsOn Hong Kong via Instagram, image 4 courtesy of Feeding Hong Kong, image 5 property of Sassy Media Group, image 6 courtesy of Hong Kong Dog Rescue (HKDR) via Facebook, image 7 courtesy of Nguyễn Hiệp via Unsplash.