HONG KONG SAR –
Media OutReach – 28 March 2022 – The COVID-19 pandemic continues to adversely impact the city since the fifth wave. Whether it will soon come to an end so that our social life can recover promptly still remains questionable. Hong Kong based non-profit organization Fullness Social Enterprises Society (FSES) has always been a supportive member for local social enterprises. FSES organizes a signature social innovation programme called Tithe Ethical Consumption Movement (TECM) annually with its aim to support the development of social entrepreneurship and to promote the concept of ethical consumption in Hong Kong.
Knowing that many people are suffering from the pandemic, FSES takes initiative to call for donations and resources from the public, to support SEs in their community support projects helping underprivileged in the community.
“Social enterprise” plays an important role in the society. They are not merely a business, but a business with an aim to achieve specific social objectives through entrepreneurial strategies. SEs strive to “do good” to the society while running the business sustainability.
Despite the pandemic, SEs in different industries are working hard to maintain their operations so that their employees (maybe from underprivileged groups), can maintain their income. Nonetheless, with the fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the tightened social distancing measures as well as a shortage of supplies, SE restaurants are suffering to keep up with their community support projects such as free meal distribution.
FSES has invited three SE restaurants, Holy Café, Manna, and Joyous Kitchen, who are continuing their community support projects during this challenging time, to share their work with us. In addition to supporting SEs with consumption, donating surplus materials to SE can also support their operation and maximize the resource usage as they extend the support to the community.
Holy Café：Hope to continue meal distribution to help the elderly
Holy Café mainly provides employment opportunities for the disadvantaged in the hope of their better integration into society and self-reliance in the future. Although its new store has suspended their business under the pandemic, Holy Café did not cease its regular free meal distribution to the elderly at the restarurant. Currently, free meals will be distributed every Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, with approximately 4,000 meal boxes distributed every month.
Mrs. Song, the founder of Holy Café, expressed her hope to continue the free meal distribution to help the elderly despite the overwhelming impact on their restaurant due to the pandemic. “Many solitary elder are trapped at home without care, and they can’t even buy medicine,” she said.
“If we have donations, we can buy food for the elderly. Recently, there are a lot of generous donors who have sent us rapid test kits, masks, hand sanitizers, and medicines to give to our elderly. This pandemic has been a very challenging time for most social enterprises, particularly those in the restaurant and catering industry. Both resources and materials are desperately in need. Holy Café is with no exception. I hope that generous donors could call for more people to support social enterprises.”
|Despite the pandemic, Holy Café continues to provide regular free meal distribution service to the elderly.|
|Currently, free meals will be distributed every Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, with approximately 4,000 meal boxes distributed every month.|
|In additon to meal distribution, generous donors have sent Holy Café rapid test kits, masks, hand sanitizers, and medicines to distirbute to the elderly.|
Manna：The most pressing need is manpower
Manna supports poverty alleviation through their restaurant and catering services. Manna hopes to reach and assist low-income and disadvantaged groups through catering services, and become a bridging agent between the community and the Christian community. Prior to the pandemic, Manna has set up a peer support group with grassroots families and the solitary elderly at the restaurant. However, it was paralyzed due to the pandemic, thus they have extended the support by delivery food and resources to doors and provide emotional counselling etc. With the COVID-19 restrictions, the restaurant is currently only doing takeaway meals and free meal distributions for the underprivileged. Leo, the founder of Manna, stated that their current focus is to provide free meal delivery services in Kwun Tong and Sham Shui Po districts; about 20,000 meal boxes are distributed every month.
“The most pressing need for the restaurant is not money, but manpower. Many volunteers had been infected with coronavirus and need to be quarantined, which puts manpower pressure on the restaurant,” said Leo. He also expressed that they are now most concerned about the homeless, the solitary elderly, families in subdivided housing, and cleaning workers. “We also deliver anti-epidemic kits, rapid test kits, and regularly update them with government information. The information sources of the solitary elderly and families in subdivided housing are probably not as updated as ours. If you are willing to join us to support this group of grassroots friends, 1) you can support by buying free meal coupons for the grassroots; 2) you can donate rapid antigen test kits; and/ or 3) you can volunteer in person, which is what we need the most!”
|Manna currently focuses on providing free meal delivery services in Kwun Tong and Sham Shui Po districts, with about 20,000 meal boxes distributed every month.|
|In additional to distributing free meals, Manna also delivers anti-epidemic kits, rapid test kits, and regularly updates the needy with the latest government information.|
|Leo suggested that those willing to help can donate to buy their free meal coupons for needy, donate rapid antigen test kits, and/ or volunteer in person.|
Joyous Kitchen：Catering suspended, Meal box business plummeted
As a social enterprise under Jubilee Ministries, Joyous Kitchen generally offers catering and meal boxes services to various NGO support centres, from which the profits generated will be channelled to providing free meals to the grassroots. Unfortunately, with the great hit from the pandemic, not only the catering service has suspended, but the sales of the meal box services has also drastically reduced. “We have not estimated the impact of our business suspension. But the needs of the underprivileged in this neighborhood still exist and they do need the meals. Thus, besides our regular meal boxes services for NGO support centres, and we now provide do door to door delivery to those in need. However, we have shifted from making ready-to-eat rice boxes to chilled food packs so the needy can reheat them whenever they need. Hopefully, all the needy can still have a nutritious meal during this difficult time,” said Jonathan of Joyous Kitchen.
Joyous Kitchen has set up a “Pandemic Emergency Relief Collection Point” at their centre Jordan, for compiling food and related resources for sorting and delivery to low income families who are heavily affected by COVID-19. “Families with members infected with COVID-19 cannot leave their home. Yet, they are still in need of food. Our co-workers and volunteers can help distribute the resources and chilled food packs directly to these homes. We welcome donation of dry food, epidemic prevention supplies, resources, and/ or monetary donation to support us on the production of meal packs for the needy,” Jordan added.
|The main business of Joyous Kitchen is remote catering and meal boxes, from which the profits generated will be channeled to providing free meals to the grassroots.|
|Under the pandemic, Joyous Kitchen shifted from making ready-to-eat rice boxes to chilled food packs so the needy can reheat them whenever they need.|
|Joyous Kitchen has set up a “Pandemic Emergency Relief Collection Point” at their centre in Jordan, for compiling food and related resources for sorting and delivery to low income families heavily affected by COVID-19.|
【Donate to support the underprivileged and together we fight the Virus!】
Despite the challenges, the three social enterprises are still very committed in providing the support services to the underprivileged. As members of the community, we can also contribute to support these social enterprises with consumption and donate resources to them to support their community support projects.
Donating supplies is as important as donating money. Helpful resources include anti-epidemic products like masks, alcohol hand sanitizers, healthy drinks, or food ingredients like meat, vegetables, and fruits. The donations can lighten the burden of the social enterprises so that they can free up more resources to help more people in need. For more donation details, please refer to the website of TECM：
In 2021, TECM has introduced various activities to assist social enterprises, from launching TECM MALL, an online shopping platform for SE products and hosting family themed Christmas Bazaar, to lining up charity campaign among corporate and social enterprises. Although all the activities have rounded off, FSES will continue their work in supporting social enterprises in Hong Kong.