As the temperature plummeted to the lowest level in 59 years earlier this week, some of the city’s most vulnerable communities were forced to sleep in cold, damp streets. If there was ever a time to help the homeless in Hong Kong, this was it.
On January 25, around thirty Hong Kongers gathered together in Nam Cheong and bought food and supplies which they delivered, along with blankets, straight into the hands of around 80 street sleepers.
Baskets loads of fresh fruit, water, juice, sandwiches, tissues, and one hundred dinner vouchers were given to those who need it most – elderly women, young children, those struggling with drug addiction, and even puppies.
This was not a one-off event. This is the twentieth month in a row that school teacher and passionate campaigner Jeff Rotmeyer has led the gathering, which has come to be known as Helping the Homeless. Organised through his humanitarian movement ImpactHK, the initiative enables individuals from all walks of life who wish to have a direct and positive impact on the lives of Hong Kong’s homeless.
With an estimated 1,400 homeless sleeping on the streets, it is hard to believe that Hong Kong ranks number eleven in the list of cities with the most millionaires per capita, but that is the reality of life in our city. The desire to help the less fortunate members of our society is a shared sentiment among many people in Hong Kong, who acknowledge the large economic disparity. Knowing exactly how to do so, on the other hand, can be a challenge given the amount of registration forms and waiting lists than well-meaning organisations request.
This is something Jeff and the team hope to change and they have no intention of stopping. “We definitely have momentum with our handouts. Word is spreading of how rewarding and impactful these nights are,” he tells us. “I started ImpactHK to expose the concept of doing good deeds for others to more people and to show how easy it is to make a difference.
“There are no salaries or corporate funding, it is simply the power of considerate and compassionate people coming together to make a difference. Due to the big numbers of people wanting to help, I’m going to try having two handouts this month, so I’m looking forward to seeing some new and familiar faces out there!”[masterslider id=”132″]
If you feel inspired by Jeff’s story, and would like to get involved in helping the homeless, why not join the volunteers and find out more on Jeff’s blog, The Guest Room.
Read more! Discover the astonishing reality of homelessness in Hong Kong in our recent article “I’m Livin’ It”, Homeless Under the Golden Arches, and read more of our inspiring Dream Week stories, Can Reality TV Makes Dreams Come True? and Can You Help Make “The Helper”?