A little bit of kindness goes a long way…
This month we have our eyes on ImpactHK, a local non-profit organisation supporting the homeless that’s been around since 2017. Its founder and CEO Jeff Rotmeyer has been doing good long before it became a registered charity, going on walks with a few of his friends to deliver food and basic necessities to people living on the streets. His simple idea of doing one kind act a month has since grown into a large network of passionate volunteers that serve Hong Kong’s homeless community all year round.
Not only does ImpactHK provide housing and employment opportunities for the homeless, it also makes sure it supports those individuals with a holistic approach. Think weekly counselling and mentorship, as well as daily sports and art classes. We spoke to Jeff about why kindness matters and to find out more about the charity’s newly-opened centre in West Kowloon.
Read more: Where To Volunteer In Hong Kong: Nonprofits, Charities & Social Enterprises
Tell us about your charity. What does ImpactHK do?
ImpactHK started with the ambition of just doing one kind act a month. About six years ago, a friend of mine introduced me to a park in Sham Shui Po where the homeless are. He asked me if I would go with him to help the homeless there and I said yes. It was quite an eye-opening experience for me, so much so that I decided to invite friends to go with me once a month.
It became quite a popular activity and, after a few months, we started doing two kind acts a month. Then it turned into four times a month, then eight times, and here we are now, serving on the streets about a hundred times a month in multiple locations around Hong Kong.
We’ve just opened a new shop, which we named 1ofaKind. It’s a support centre for the homeless where they can get free food, free coffee and a snack. We also provide high quality new and preowned clothing to the community at affordable prices (brand new clothing for $40 or $20 for children’s wear). All funds raised will help to serve Hong Kong’s homeless community. We also have laundry facilities available in the shop.
The shop gives us an opportunity to get to know individual members of the community better. 1ofaKind is also a place of employment for the homeless. We are trying to create as many meaningful job opportunities for them as possible. It’s our goal as a charity to keep creating more and more job opportunities for those in need of a steady income.
We hope, as well, to start a painting company in June, and that painting company will focus on home renovation and also helping out to paint seniors’ homes.
Why should we care?
We have the hashtag “kindnessmatters” and it may sound a little bit cheesy, but the truth is that it really does. Especially in today’s society where a lot of people focus on judging people in need, constantly judging their actions and criticising their choices. Those judgements really serve no purpose and have absolutely no positive outcome.
Showing kindness to people brings the best out of them, and as a charity, that’s what we do. We empower people, we earn their trust through repeated kindness, and then through friendship, we see how we can individually help each individual find a path towards health and happiness.
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How can we help?
For volunteers looking to help, we have a very easy sign up system. You can sign up to join our daily kindness walks through the ImpactHK website. We have a ton of volunteering opportunities there. Or, if you’re looking for a more specific volunteering option related to your passions or talents, we’d love to hear from you!
1ofaKind, G/F, Man Wai Building, 18 Man Wai Street, Jordan, Hong Kong, 2448 8848, www.facebook.com/1ofaKINDhk
Editor’s Note: Charities are constantly looking for volunteers, donations and support – and they need it now more than ever. To help them during this difficult time, we’re putting a spotlight on a different charity each month. If you’re a charity, or know of one that could use a shout-out, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try our best to feature them in one of our upcoming Sassy Supports!
All images courtesy of Keith Tsui via ImpactHK.