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Local charity ImpactHK has recently opened a second hand clothing store called 1ofaKIND. Located in Yau Ma Tei, the shop offers employment to homeless people while encouraging a circular economy for fashion, and also doubles as a community café where food and beverages are provided at no cost for anyone in need. At a time when disadvantaged groups in Hong Kong are facing additional challenges and disproportionate burdens due to the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout, the opening of 1ofaKIND is an initiative to encourage greater compassion and much-needed kindness in the city.
Founded 3 years ago by Jeff Rotmeyer, ImpactHK is a registered NGO that is dedicated to provide help to the neediest in impoverished areas of Hong Kong. Well known for their “kindness walks” where supplies are handed out to under-resourced groups in the city, the charity has now opened up a new vintage store called 1ofaKIND in the heart of Yau Ma Tei.
The store offers second hand affordable fashion items, everything from T-shirts to bags, accessories and shoes, and employs homeless people in the city, providing them with decent work opportunities. Customers visiting the store are not only supporting homeless people, but by purchasing preloved items, they are preventing clothing from ending up in landfills and avoiding new unsustainable fashion production that contributes 10% of global carbon emissions.
In addition to being a second hand fashion store, 1ofaKIND operates a community café where delicious Redback Colombian and Brazilian coffee and teas are provided, as well as snacks. Customers can enjoy food and beverages at no cost, but can opt into the “pay it forward” scheme, where a hot drink and snack can be purchased for a visitor in need who walks sino the store in the future.
The initiative comes at a time when disadvantaged communities all around the world, including here in Hong Kong, are suffering disproportionate impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Many people in Hong Kong who have recently sought help from ImpactHK have recently faced cuts in their working hours and pay, or have lost their jobs due to the economic downturn. Unable to pay rent, some have also been forced to leave their homes.
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Poorer groups in Hong Kong society are already more vulnerable to contracting the virus as well, as they live in cramped conditions and cannot practice social distancing. Many have additionally been unable to afford personal protective equipment such as surgical face masks, despite working jobs that cannot be performed from the safety of their homes.
“1ofaKIND is a great opportunity for ImpactHK to employ more people and help them off the streets, as well as supporting the less fortunate during this challenging time,” said Rotmeyer.
Other charitable campaigns have also been launched in Hong Kong during this difficult time. Last month, property developer New World Development launched vending machines across the city to distribute 10 million free surgical face masks. While all Hong Kongers are eligible for the scheme, it is targeted for elderly, gig workers, essential non-medical staff and low-income groups in the community who may lack the resources to protect themselves from the virus.
Address: 1ofaKIND, Shop 8, 18 Man Wai Street, Man Wai Building, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon. Open daily: 10.00am – 7.00pm.
Donate to ImpactHK to support people in need in Hong Kong here.
Lead image courtesy of 1ofaKIND.