How to do more to help during the third wave of the pandemic.
The Third Wave hasn’t been quite the surf experience we were hoping for this summer. But even if the beaches are sealed off – in your mind … think about riding this wave! To give is better than to receive goes the popular mantra, and we at Sassy Mama are convinced the way to stem the tide of negativity is to reach out a helping hand. Here is a timely list of opportunities and there is something for everyone. You can choose to share your time, funds or skills, it’s up to you to make some waves!
How And Where To Donate
Double your impact with the newly launched Bridge the Gap campaign. For every dollar you donate to a NGO, a consortium of funders pledge to match your gift dollar for dollar*(possibly the best deal in town!). #bridgethegaphk is the brainchild of Jennifer Chen, Chief Executive of The Chen Yet-Sen Family Foundation. Chen is appealing to members of the public to donate all or part of their $10,000 government cash payout (whatever they can afford) directly to NGOs who are supporting needy families and communities. #bridgethegaphk is beautiful in its simplicity and effective in its amplification. Get on board!
Editor’s note: *All public donations matched need to be made to pre-approved grantee organisations between June and October 2020, up to $500,000 per grantee. Collaborating funders include The Hong Kong Club Foundation and the Fu Tak Iam Foundation.
Another resource is the “Support our Champions” platform launched by Asian Charity Services to help NGOs gain more visibility with potential funders (of any amount). The website, with over 50 organisations listed, is conveniently organised by interest sectors and highlights current and urgent needs of each NGO.
If you have other charitable intentions, have you thought about starting your own community campaign? For example, the Hong Kong Community Recovery Fund (HKCRF) is a concerted philanthropic effort by the Hong Kong-American community to support local charities in dire need. The HKCRF vetted numerous organisations before selecting a list of 12 local grassroots organisations to receive donations from pooled resources. The “Million Dollar Challenge” is an initiative coordinated through the Hong Kong Round Table charity and they intend to support poverty alleviation and other community charities.
NGOs are under undue financial pressure. In fact, a recent HKCSS survey found that half of the NGOs surveyed have less than six months of cash reserves left. The impact of your support – no matter how small or big – will provide critical assistance to some of Hong Kong’s most disadvantaged communities. Send a life vest for those organisations caught in the riptide.
Volunteering Your Time And Skills
Local Motion connects business professionals with charities who are in need of specific skill gaps for short term volunteering projects. Just about every skill set is welcome: from copy editing to photography, from graphics design to public relations.
Another popular organisation for hands-on volunteering is the eponymously named, Hands-On-Hong Kong. This year’s Serve-a-thon will run from Saturday, 19 to Sunday, 27 September 2020, nine days of consecutive volunteering, to provide assistance to those worst impacted. The service calendar includes virtual opportunities and in-person relief programmes.
MIND HK, a mental health charity, would appreciate volunteers with graphic design, translation capabilities, and those with clinical experience in mental health. They have recorded a surge of interest from local residents in light of recent events. CareER, a peer support platform for higher educated individuals with disabilities, is looking for volunteers experienced with interior design, office renovations and IT advice.
While all of us have been struggling with homeschooling and online learning, spare a thought for those who have had it worse. Thrive Hong Kong provides thematic classes for economically-challenged 10 to 12-year-olds and their families, to inspire and empower them with enhanced self-confidence and a positive mind-set. The charity is modelled on the Dutch IMC Weekendschool, a supplementary school on Sundays for children from underprivileged neighbourhoods (winner at the Marketplace of Ideas of United Nations Alliance of Civilization). They are soliciting volunteers to teach, and especially families who can teach together. Get your teens involved as the minimum age to volunteer is 12 years.
The most commonly requested in-kind donations are technology devices, face masks and supermarket vouchers. The list of NGOs below is by no means exhaustive but provides examples of organisations who have voiced their needs.
The Women’s Foundation is soliciting devices as part of their #techforgoodinitiative. These devices will benefit underprivileged families to enable children access to online schooling. Rainlily, an organisation supporting victims of domestic violence, also seeks tech device donations.
Supermarket vouchers are especially sought after by NGOs serving marginalised communities in Hong Kong. Inner City Ministries works among the ethnic minority community in Yau Ma Tei and Branches of Hope works for justice and equal rights for refugees and asylum seekers.
Pathfinders aid vulnerable migrant mothers and their children, and they are soliciting baby-related items including nappies, formula, clothing, thermometers, as well as maternity pads and undergarments.
J-Life, an organisation serving underprivileged families in Sham Shui Po, is in need of food, clothing, hygiene products, and electrical appliances (specifically Wifi eggs and tablets).
Music Children Foundation supports underprivileged children with instrument training and currently need vacuum cleaners, air purifiers, dehumidifiers, computer monitors (preferably 21”) and tablets.
Buy Good And Be Good
Another way to contribute to COVID-19 relief efforts is to buy from socially aware brands. Cookie Smiles is an online fundraiser platform, based around selling cookies. 20% of proceeds from sales will be donated to Splash Foundation (provides free swim lessons for domestic workers) and Hong Kong Down Syndrome Association, in addition to training opportunities for the disadvantaged and physically impaired.
Rebooked is Hong Kong’s first online store of used English books for children. Started by 15-year-old Bailey, Rebooked will collect your donation of pre-loved children’s and young adults books and sell them at deeply discounted prices.
DB Mothers & Friends is a social enterprise based in Discovery Bay. For a nominal fee, they will collect good condition furniture and redistribute to NGOs or individuals in need. Crossroads Foundation, a long-standing Hong Kong organisation, also collects furniture for redistribution; and if you have quality used goods to donate, but don’t quite know which charity might benefit, just use Crossroads new app, GoodCity.HK.
Charity Begins At Home
Often overlooked despite living and working in our own homes are Hong Kong’s 300,000-strong foreign domestic workers. There is a chance your helper or nanny is an important (if not the only) source of income for their families. In the case of the Philippines, remittances from abroad account for almost 10% of the country’s GDP. Due to rising unemployment caused in part by the pandemic, remittances are expected to shrink by 2.5% in 2020. Have a frank conversation with your domestic worker about his or her needs. After all, charity begins at home.
NGOs that support foreign domestic workers and have volunteering opportunities include Uplifters and Enrich, which provide financial and empowerment education; HELP for Domestic Workers provides free advice on employment and human rights issues; and Pathfinders. Uplifters has a section dedicated to helping domestic workers during COVID which has resources for helpers and employers.
There are a large number of NGOs to support. Choose one, and give these organisations a chance to sail through this difficult season until the coast is clear.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published on 2, June 2020 and updated on 28, August 2020.