Image: Food Made Good HK

Our first meet-up in 2022 – a kindness walk to support the homeless.

Every month, Food Made Good HK hosts events where we specifically focus on one of our core commitments to planet and people. This month it was Society: Support the Community which we did by offering our services to Impact HK, a volunteer social-activist group whose work we deeply respect.

Impact HK supports Hong Kong’s sizeable community of homeless people through outreach initiatives that include providing education, employment and training. Moreover, encouraging everyday Hong Kong people to care and show love to people living on the streets greatly benefits the homeless by helping them feel less marginalised, an important step in recovering their dignity.

GIVING HOPE TO THE HOMELESS

On Tuesday, 11 January, we joined one of the regular kindness walks that are at the heart of Impact HK’s outreach programme. Led by 2 Impact HK staff members, a group of 13 Food Made Good HK Members and 3 of our full-time team walked around a pre-defined route in Mongkok. Here we met numerous people who have been forced to sleep on the streets because of economic hardship, and helped distribute food and supplies to them.

At every stop, the volunteers were recognised and welcomed by the street-sleepers. Conducting kindness walks on a daily basis along the same routes builds trust between both sides and helps create genuine relationships. It was heart-warming to see the warm reception the volunteers kept receiving with big smiles on both sides.

Image: Food Made Good HK

Basic necessities that make a world of difference

Items given out included hard-boiled eggs, bananas, milk, cereal bars, toiletries and pyjamas. We were pleasantly surprised to see how many fresh foods were distributed as in many countries, especially those operating food banks, nutrient-light, non-perishables are the norm.

Candice from Impact HK explained that our donations that day were bite-size snacks and toiletries. This is because many street-sleepers face big fluctuations in terms of food donations. Some days, they can get two or three cooked meals. On others, however, they may receive almost nothing – so small, nutritious items like hard-boiled eggs and bananas can either be directly eaten, or stored to keep them going when food is scarce.

Image: Food Made Good HK

 

HONG KONG’S HOMELESS PROBLEM

In 2020, there were estimated to be some 1,500 registered homeless people in Hong Kong, though the real number may be much higher. With one of the world’s most expensive property markets, the city is a tough place for people in low-income jobs, especially if they experience family or personal problems. Countless people struggle to find safe and affordable accommodation – and can easily find themselves without a roof over their heads.

The human contact that Impact HK volunteers offer is often more important than the food and supplies they distribute. This trust can then be turned into longer-term help including education programmes to ultimately get people off the streets and back into proper housing and given job opportunities.

 

Image: Food Made Good HK

 

What Hong Kong’s F&B industry can do to help

There are numerous ways that local restaurants and food suppliers can play a part. Impact HK always welcomes donations of pre-packed meals and snacks – the more nutritious the better. Providing clothing as well as any still-functioning mobile phones or tablets can also make a big difference to people’s lives. Why not begin by joining a Kindness Walk in your neighbourhood to see the problem of homelessness at first hand? You’ll find it both heart-breaking and uplifting. Just sign up here.

Image: Food Made Good HK

The Sustainability Meet-Up Series is a monthly gathering designed to educate and empower the Hong Kong foodservice community – chefs, restaurateurs, FOH, BOH, suppliers and sustainability leads.

Inspired by our framework, the programme is curated to inspire the community, in novel ways through which they can bring in small but significant changes to their sourcing choices, menu design, supplies, just to name a few. We will be organising talks and activities delivered by sustainable food industry leaders, on various themes linked to UN International Days and our three pillars – Sourcing, Society and the Environment.