With all the delights and excesses of Christmas behind us, it is time to look forward in the New Year to how to give back. It’s especially important, here in Hong Kong, to think of those who simply don’t have the same advantages.
Swire Properties’ community ambassador programme, an employee-led cause, encourages its employees, partners, tenants, and their friends and families, to volunteer for a series of activities that can really make a difference to various communities. Charity campaigns and fundraisers include: Books for Love, a two-month book drive; Little Angel, a Valentine’s rose charity sale that helps raise funds for the St. James’ Settlement to provide rehabilitation services for those in need; Be My Friend, a mutual support network for elderly members of the Island East community who live alone; and many more.
Wanting to do the same? While writing out a cheque to your favourite charity provides invaluable monetary help, there are other ways to give back in a more pro-active, hands-on manner. Whether you want to work with kids or animals, the elderly or the disabled, there’s something out there for everyone.
If you want variety: HANDS ON HK
This should be your go-to for any volunteering work you want to do in Hong Kong. It’s a non-profit that connects local charities with the volunteer manpower they need to achieve their mission. With more than 100 opportunities each month, it doesn’t matter if you’re a busy working professional, a student, a parent, or even a newcomer to Hong Kong, you can always make time to help out. From food collection to helping the disadvantaged, outings for those with disabilities to elderly care, you can find what most interests you.
If you’re up for anything: HONG KONG VOLUNTEERS
This worthy cause aims to serve HK community with a diverse group looking for anyone willing to help in any capacity. Since 2015, membership has more than doubled and so have the number of projects undertaken. Volunteers are needed for preparing and packaging food for the homeless, making elderly home visits, fund raising, AIDS care awareness, and much more.
If you love reading: BRING ME A BOOK
Research shows that reading aloud to children is critical to their development. Sadly, many children from less privileged homes don’t have access to quality, age-appropriate books. This wonderful charity has changed all that for many children and their families, but volunteers are still constantly needed to donate their time to read aloud to kids.
If you’re good with kids: CHANGING YOUNG LIVES
Changing Young Lives Foundation is dedicated to serving underprivileged children and young people in Hong Kong and the Mainland by providing free educational and developmental programmes to inspire them to realize their full potential and lead happy and productive lives. Volunteers are needed for tutoring, mentoring, skill coaching and more.
If you’re an animal lover: Dog Rescue
Run by founder, Sally Andersen, and many dedicated volunteers, the aim of this charity is rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing as many of the thousands of abandoned and unwanted dogs and puppies as possible. What started as a one-person mission has now become one of Hong Kong’s most active and successful dog re-homing organisations. Help is needed with walking, feeding, cleaning and caring for the many dogs that await adoption.
If you’re patient with the elderly: China Coast Community
This is the only residential care facility for English speaking elderly persons, regardless of their financial circumstances. Volunteers are constantly needed for helping with monthly outings, assisting with regular leisure activities such as Bingo, conducting craft classes, playing the piano, guitar or other musical instruments to entertain the residents, and even for singing.
If you’re keen on food prep: Food Angel
Food Angel’s mission is “Waste not, hunger not.” The program rescues edible surplus food from different sectors of the food industry that would otherwise be disposed of as waste. Following strict safety protocols, the rescued food items are then prepared as nutritious hot meals in their central kitchen and are redistributed to serve the underprivileged communities in Hong Kong.
If you’re sporty: InspiringHK Sports Foundation
Helping society by spreading sportsmanship is how IHKSP sees itself. The charity believes that the universal language of sport has the power to nurture youths in a way that little else does. Their sports programmes equip the younger generation with values such as confidence, discipline and perseverance, to enable them to overcome challenges that will inevitably appear in their lives.
Photo caption of (from left to right):
- Dog Rescue’s volunteers walking dogs at its Tai Po Homing Centre
- Swire Properties’community ambassador programme
- HandsOn Hong Kong’s mooncake donation to the disabled
- InspiringHK Sports Foundation’s rope-skipping performance