Looking to give back over the festive season (and beyond)? Here’s how you can help make a difference with volunteering opportunities, where to donate and more…
It’s been another challenging year; the outbreak of COVID-19 has affected not just our city, but continues to disrupt lives all over the world. As the festive season approaches, it’s more important than ever to spread Christmas cheer and support our local community. From volunteering at food banks and supporting charities, to fostering a furry friend or simply shopping for stocking fillers at local businesses, here are just a few ways that you can get involved and help give back to Hong Kong.
Many businesses felt the strain of the global pandemic, and though the situation has improved somewhat since 2020, a lot of the smaller businesses are still struggling to recover their losses. As such, it’s important that we band together and show our support for small, local businesses. Sure, Christmas shopping on Amazon is easy and the lure of free shipping is always an added bonus, but there are countless smaller retailers who do a little dance every time you click that “buy now” button. Regardless of whether you’re looking for stocking fillers, luxurious beauty gifts or a trinket that doubles as an ode to #homekong, many sites will still be up and running even if the physical store is taking a breather over these trying times. Head to our roundup of 50 local brands we love to get started.
Alternatively, why not gift a voucher that can be used at a later date? Purchasing a voucher is the perfect way to show support while limiting the need to brave the mall crowds. From restaurant gift cards to boutique homeware vouchers and passes to Hong Kong’s health and wellness scene, these can be used for future use and are a great way to give local businesses some much-needed love and revenue this year.
Read more: Local Hong Kong-Themed Gift Ideas
Volunteer Your Time
We are not always in a position where we can lend monetary help, but what we might have is the ability to lend our time this holiday season. Investing time into organisations that would truly benefit from an extra pair of hands is a fantastic way to give back to the community this Christmas. 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
Reduce food waste and support local charities striving to feed Hong Kong. Perhaps you stocked up on a few too many cans earlier in the year, or have been gifted one too many Christmas treats? There are various organisations working tirelessly throughout the year to collect, sort, store and redistribute surplus food items to those in need. Feeding Hong Kong, for example, has kept its foodbank open year-round and is urgently seeking donations of rice, noodles and canned food, as well as hand sanitiser, medical masks and household cleaning supplies. Have a look at their volunteer calendar here to see which areas you might be able to help with.
If you would like to donate multiple items, be sure to also get in touch with these Hong Kong organisations and food banks below:
Take Part In Local Christmas Initiatives
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. Although it’s hard to predict which Christmas events will be up and running this year, the campaign accepts direct donations through its website where you can also purchase merch designed by local cartoonists and artists.
Box of Hope
Box of Hope has more than succeeded in teaching children and adults around the world the gift of giving to others. Its 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) to then be distributed over the festive period. The deadline for participation in 2021 has already ended, but this is a good one to keep in mind for next year!
Foster A Furry Friend For The Holidays
Sadly with travel restrictions still ongoing, many of us may not make it home for Christmas this year. Whilst holidaying in Hong Kong might not have been the original plan, with more time spent at home and the weather finally cool enough to hike further afield, why not consider bringing a furry friend along with you for the ride? Animal shelters are always looking for people who can sign up as foster families and relieve some of the pressure off the kennels whilst actively socialising the dogs and allowing them to adapt to life in the city. Bear in mind that you may not be able to specify which 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).
There is no shortage of charities to choose from. 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!).
Already adopted? 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.
Read more: Adopting A Dog In Hong Kong 101
Give The Gift Of Giving
Perhaps friends and family have asked to limit the number of gifts this year, or you’re wanting to gift something meaningful rather than another silk scarf or novelty secret Santa item? Charitable Choice is asking you to lighten Santa’s load and consider “giving the gift of charity” this year. It takes two minutes: log on, select your gift card design, the value intended and the recipient’s address details. Once it arrives in the post, they are then 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). Alternatively, send a couple of pre-loaded cards to yourself. You can pop them in a selection of Christmas charity cards to hand out at parties or take as gifts to go along with the usual bottle of bubbly at parties.
Make A Blood Donation
One single blood donation can save the lives of three or more people. If you are in good health, weigh over 41kg and are over the age of 16 (and below 66), the process couldn’t be easier. This guide is here to help you navigate all the specifics (like what to expect and where to go), so if you’re not sure where to begin, have a read and see if making a blood donation is something that you’re comfortable doing.
The Red Cross has a daily target of 1,100 donations per day, with the need for blood more prevalent than before as COVID has resulted in a drop in donations over the past year. With that in mind, 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: This article was originally published by Lexi Davey in November 2020 and was most recently updated in December 2021 by Team Sassy.